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Cell site operator China Tower seeks $10bn IPO

Blockbuster offering in Hong Kong to surpass Xiaomi's debut

Cell tower operator China Tower was founded as an infrastructure joint venture by the country's three biggest mobile providers.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- Mobile infrastructure company China Tower plans to go public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange this summer in an offering that could beat smartphone maker Xiaomi's scheduled debut to become the year's biggest.

Multiple media outlets reported by Thursday the state-owned company's plan to raise up to $10 billion.

China Tower is looking at new business possibilities, such as outfitting cell towers with sensors and surveillance cameras for a variety of uses, according to materials it filed with the Hong Kong bourse. The fundraising target is set between $8 billion and $10 billion, and the offering could undershoot expectations depending on the market environment. 

China Tower was founded in 2014 as a joint effort of three Chinese state-owned mobile carriers -- market leader China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom (Hong Kong) -- to avoid redundant investments and save on maintenance costs. It installs, operates and manages cell towers, with 2017 sales totaling 68.7 billion yuan ($10.3 billion).

Xiaomi is scheduled to go public Monday to fetch $6.1 billion.The Hong Kong bourse's biggest IPO so far is life insurer AIA's nearly $18 billion debut in 2010.

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