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China electric scooter startup Niu said to be planning IPO in the US

Hong Kong

NIU, the Chinese company that sells so-called smart electric scooters in 27 countries, is pursuing an initial public offering (IPO) that could raise about US$300 million, said sources with knowledge of the matter.

The startup, founded in 2014, is working with advisers on the potential IPO, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

Niu is considering listing shares in the US as soon as this year, the people said. Preparations for the deal are at an early stage, and details could change, they said.

Niu is considering raising funds as it seeks to tap into the growing demand for battery-powered two wheelers beyond its Chinese home market.

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It unveiled two new scooters last month aimed at riders in Europe, where marques like Vespa and Honda are more common on urban streets. Niu sold 4,600 scooters in Europe last year and aims to at least double the number by 2020.

A spokesman for the company said, in response to queries from Bloomberg: "We are never ruling out the possibility of an IPO."

If the time came when Niu was going to pursue a listing in Hong Kong, mainland China, New York or London, "we would follow the protocol for official announcements concerning the IPO", she said, via a mobile phone text message.

Chinese startups continue to seek stock offerings in the US even as the Hong Kong bourse has started attracting a wider range of tech and health-care firms since relaxing its listing rules in April.

Chinese electric-vehicle maker NIO filed confidentially earlier this year for a planned New York IPO, people familiar with the matter have said. Chinese e-commerce firm Pinduoduo Inc is seeking as much as US$1.6 billion in a US IPO this week.

Niu scooters designed for the Europe market include the M+, which has a top speed of 45 kmh and will be available for 2,299 euros (S$3,657), its website indicated. The top-of-the-line N-GT scooter costs 3,999 euros and has a top speed of 70 kmh.

These two wheelers have a built-in Internet connection that lets users check real-time battery levels and location via a dedicated smartphone app.

Both the N-GT and the M+ can be charged in 3 1/2 hours and can travel more than 100 km before needing a recharge. BLOOMBERG

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