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Chinese drone maker DJI seeking at least US$500m in pre-IPO funding: sources

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DJI plans to expand into drones for sectors such as agriculture, energy, construction and for use in infrastructure inspection, two of the three sources said.

[HONG KONG] China's SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd, the world's largest maker of drones for consumers, is in talks with investors for at least US$500 million in funding ahead of a planned stock market debut, people with knowledge of the matter said.

DJI plans to expand into drones for sectors such as agriculture, energy, construction and for use in infrastructure inspection, two of the three sources said.

With the funding, set to be obtained via a combination of new equity and debt, the firm would be valued at about US$15 billion, nearly double its valuation in 2015, they added, declining to be identified as the information was private.

The move adds to a stream of fundraising by companies in the world's second-largest economy as robust investor enthusiasm for Chinese tech stocks continues to push up valuations to heady levels for many firms.

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DJI, which commands 70 per cent of the global commercial and consumer drone market, wants to finalise the deal in the coming months while a stock market listing either in Hong Kong or mainland China would likely take place next year, two of the sources said.

Proceeds for Shenzhen-based DJI could be between US$500 million and US$800 million, one person said.

A spokeswoman for DJI said in an emailed statement the company had no announcement to make on fundraising and that it was not planning an initial public offering at the moment. She did not elaborate.

DJI was valued at about US$8 billion in 2015 when it raised US$75 million from Silicon Valley venture capital firm Accel Partners. Its valuation increased to US$10 billion last year, said one person. Online technology publication The Information first reported some details of DJI's latest fundraising plans on Tuesday.

REUTERS

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