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China bitcoin miner eyes IPO, prefers to list outside mainland

[HONG KONG] China's Canaan Creative, one of the world's largest cryptocurrency mining equipment makers, said it was considering an IPO (initial public offering) outside the mainland, although it did not provide details on a possible time frame or how much the company expects to raise.

Hangzhou-based Canaan has seen a surge in demand for its mining machines amid a global boom in cryptocurrencies, with the price of bitcoin spiking more than 1,300 per cent in 2017.

"We are open to all suitable venues but prefer listing outside mainland China," said co-chairman Jianping Kong.

China is among the top centres for cryptocurrency mining, a process where people solve complex mathematical puzzles with computers in order to be awarded virtual coins. But trading in digital currencies has come under scrutiny amid worries it could facilitate illegal fund flows and breed financial risks.

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The authorities in China have taken several steps to crack down on the market, including closing exchanges and banning initial coin offerings - digital, token-based fundraising rounds.

Cryptocurrencies have seen extreme volatility, with bitcoin dropping more than 50 per cent so far in 2018, as regulations get tighter in the wake of a US$530 million theft of digital money from Tokyo-based Coincheck Inc earlier this year.

Canaan started making its "Avalon" miners in 2013. Its main competitors include Beijing-based Bitmain, which makes the "AntMiner" series and has expanded globally.