There wasn't much sizzle behind China Distance Education Holdings' (NYSE:DL) IPO yesterday. Yes, the company's CEO rang the opening bell to kick off trading at the New York Stock Exchange. It was NYSE Euronext's (NYSE:NYX) way of showing some love to the first Chinese company to go public through its NYSE Arca electronic market for emerging issues. However, the market's enthusiasm -- like the opening bell -- fell silent once the trades began flying.

Offering 8.75 million shares priced at $7 apiece, the stock opened at $6.50 and never crept above the IPO price. It closed at $6.63, down 5% from its debutante price tag.

Things could have been worse. China Distance Education, a provider of Web-based professional education, was originally looking to net as much as $11 a share in its market debut. Demand dictated the lower price, so at least the first wave of investors didn't suffer steep paper losses yesterday.

The new stock's debut is significant, despite the uninspiring follow-through. China Distance Education is actually the first Chinese company to go public in this country since computer-based certification testing provider ATA (NASDAQ:ATAI) hit Wall Street six months ago.

This latest IPO isn't exactly opening up the floodgates, but with the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing, one would think that more companies would take advantage of the global spotlight and go public.

The market's lukewarm response to yesterday's IPO won't help, but that may also owe to investor apprehension about the niche itself. China may have lapped the United States this year to become the country with the most Internet users, but the publicly traded companies offering to retool the Chinese workforce have been all over the map.

ATA and New Oriental Education (NYSE:EDU) have rewarded their IPO investors handsomely, but other educators like ChinaCast (NASDAQ:CAST), ChinaEDU (NASDAQ:CEDU), and Noah Education Holdings (NYSE:NED) are waffling about in the single digits. China Distance Education will have to earn the right to swim with the big fish -- a quarterly test on Wall Street. Until then, the market appears content to let it hang in a smaller goldfish tank.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz speaks two languages fluently, neither of them Mandarin. He does not own shares in any company mentioned in this story, though he maintains a healthy overseas exposure with international stock funds. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.