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China’s Xiaomi Files for Mega IPO in Hong Kong

Giant Chinese smart phone maker Xiaomi has filed documents that put it on course for the world’s biggest IPO this year. The company will list in Hong Kong and is expected to raise $10 billion, aiming for a valuation of about $100 billion.

Xiaomi is the world’s fourth largest smartphone manufacturer and has expanded into home appliances, software and entertainment.

“We are more than a hardware company. We are an innovation-driven Internet company,” chairman Lei Jun said in an open letter. He described the company as having a “triathlon” of overlapping business areas in hardware, new retail and Internet services. He made special mention of mobile payments, e-commerce, social media and short form videos.

The documents filed with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange are at an early stage of readiness and do not disclose the number of shares Xiaomi proposes to sell, nor the amount of new capital it plans to raise. The finance industry valuation estimates are a leap from the $60 billion discussed only a few months ago.

Subsequent updated regulatory filings, after the company has met with institutional investors and gets closer to finalizing a date for the sale, will provide more detail. The issue is sponsored by CLSA, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

The decision to list in Hong Kong rather than a mainland Chinese or U.S. stock market reflects the former British colony’s strong position as a financial center that straddles East and West. Hong Kong is easily accessed by mainland investors, and also benefits from the territory’s common law and independent judiciary. In finance circles, Hong Kong has been tipped to be the world’s leading IPO market this year, following a listings rule change specially made for tech companies that allows them to list shares with restricted voting rights. STX Entertainment, a Hollywood company with multiple backers from Greater China, has also recently filed a draft prospectus in Hong Kong.

Xiaomi’s documents show a company that is still loss-making, but that has rebounded significantly from a downturn in 2016 when it suffered from over-expansion. In 2017, it enjoyed revenues of $18.7 billion (RMB119 billion) and made operating profits of $1.92 billion (RMB12.2 billion). After other costs, Xiaomi incurred net losses of $6.58 billion (RMB41.8 billion).

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