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Xiaomi puts indefinite delay on CDRs in blow to China's plans for tech listings

Saudi Arabia's monarch may have opened the door for Saudi women like Shahd to start driving, but she still needs to sneak out of the house to take lessons.

[HONG KONG] Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp said on Saturday there is no timeframe for a mainland share offering, casting doubt on Beijing's efforts to lure foreign-listed Chinese tech giants back home.

Xiaomi had been expected to raise up to US$10 billion, split between its Hong Kong and mainland offerings. But in a surprise move earlier this week, it postponed its mainland share offering until after it completes its scheduled July 7 listing in Hong Kong.

It did not say when it would restart its China depositary receipts (CDRs) issuance process or why it was postponing the mainland offering.

Sources told Reuters the decision was mainly because of a dispute between the company and Chinese regulators over the valuation of its CDRs, but the company denied this.

"We've had many rounds of discussions with the (Chinese) regulators and reached a consensus that to ensure the quality of our CDR issuance, it's better that we go public in Hong Kong first," Xiaomi's chief financial officer, Shou Zi Chew, told a press conference in Hong Kong.

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Xiaomi, which also makes internet-connected devices, has lined up US$548 million from seven cornerstone investors including US chipmaker Qualcomm Inc for its blockbuster Hong Kong IPO, Reuters reported on Thursday.

The Hong Kong offering is set to be the first listing under new exchange rules designed to attract tech floats, as competition heats up between Hong Kong, New York and the Chinese mainland.

It is selling about 2.18 billion shares at a price range of HK$17 to HK$22 each, representing a multiple of 22.7–29.3 times 2019 earnings forecast by its underwriting syndicate.

The IPO values the Beijing-based, Cayman-domiciled company at US$54.3 billion to US$70.3 billion after a 15 per cent "greenshoe" or over-allotment option which can be sold if there is demand. If the greenshoe is exercised, Xiaomi's free float will be 9.99 per cent of its enlarged share capital.

The new valuation range is far below the US$100 billion touted by sources earlier this year and below the more recent US$70 billion plus valuation target that some analysts and investors see as aggressive.

Xiaomi Chief Executive and co-founder Lei Jun said he expected to expand its product range and international market presence. Xiaomi's phones are currently sold in 74 countries.

"I agree the smartphone market in the next 10 years will grow slowly. But still, it is a giant market," Mr Lei said.

Set up in 2010, the company doubled its smartphone shipments in 2017 to become the world's fourth-largest maker, according to Counterpoint Research, defying a global slowdown in smartphone sales.

Alongside smartphones, Xiaomi makes dozens of internet-connected home appliances and gadgets, including scooters, air purifiers and rice cookers.


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