Money managers looking for swift returns of up to 20 per cent on single stocks are turning once again to Chinese technology companies - not by grabbing the tail of a red-hot rally, but by betting on a surge in delistings from the US. With mainland technology plays booming in frenzied trade in the domestic A share markets, firms that opted for a US listing are now queuing up to make the jump back home - and paying a premium to existing stockholders to do so before the rally runs out of steam. That has opened a trading window for the likes of HSBC Global Asset Management, which believes it can spot the firms that are most likely to make the move and pay the best prices to shareholders for a quick vote of approval to delist from the US. "You will hear more Chinese tech shares' delisting announcements going forward and this will be a hot trend this year," said HSBC's Mandy Chan, who oversees three China-related equity funds with total assets under management of US$2.5 billion. "We are carefully studying who could be the potential ones to delist from the US market and try to [be in] position before the announcement," Chan told the South China Morning Post . Shares of Chinese internet firms with US listings have retreated 7 per cent since September as some institutional investors diverted their funds to other stocks in search of higher returns. By comparison, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index has rallied 138 per cent over the past 12 months. Mainland technology stocks are trading at 220 times earnings per share, the priciest among global peers, while valuations of technology shares in the US peaked at 156 times earnings in March 2000. Chan said controlling shareholders of delisting candidates usually paid investors premiums of at least 10 per cent to 20 per cent above the market price to go private ahead of a fresh public offering on mainland exchanges. Seven privatisation deals worth US$6.1 billion - including Shanda Games, Perfect World and Wuxi PharmaTech (Cayman) - have been completed so far this year, according to data provider Dealogic. That already equals 77 per cent of the full-year volume seen in the peak year of 2012. Wuxi PharmaTech offered shareholders a 16.5 per cent premium to its closing price last month, while a consortium of buyers paid a 46.5 per cent premium to the 30-day average share price when taking Chinese online-game company Shanda Games private. More than 60 Chinese companies listed on US exchanges between 2008 and 2011, but there were only two new listings in 2012. The decline came as foreign investors' doubts over Chinese companies have grown amid accounting and other scandals, with the most well-known case that of Toronto-listed Sino-Forest, which filed for bankruptcy in 2012, a year after being accused of fraud. The number of US listings grew last year as e-commerce giant Alibaba picked New York as its listing venue rather than Hong Kong. Many of the 14 Chinese companies that listed in the US last year were in the e-commerce and internet services sector, including online retailer JD.com microblogging website Weibo, online jobs site Zhaopin and online-based leisure-travel company Tuniu. Most top fund mangers have been parking their capital in industry leaders, rather than smaller names. "What we have done in the last two years was to lower the weight in digital consumer from over 40 per cent to low 30 per cent, mainly because of valuations, which in many places have become expensive," said Richard Speetjens, a portfolio manager at Robeco who oversees the €1.1 billion (HK$9.3 billion) Global Consumer Trends Equities fund. "The reason why we trimmed our position in digital consumer was that even in the mobile space, the number of winners is much smaller than on the desktop side, like Facebook, Google and Apple." "We are trying to diversify a bit from China-only exposure into other emerging markets, like Korea and India. We do not want to be too dependent on China from a risk point of view," he told the Post .