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Equities

Smartphone maker Xiaomi tipped for Hong Kong listing

The $70bn valued Chinese company eyes mainland listing later

Xiaomi founder and CEO Lei Jun. A Hong Kong listing by the Chinese smartphone maker would support the bourse's efforts to attract unicorns, unlisted startups valued at $1 billion or more.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- The odds are increasing that Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi will choose Hong Kong for its initial public offering, with a view toward listing on the mainland afterward.

Several Hong Kong media outlets have reported that Xiaomi will apply to go public as soon as next month, valuing the Beijing-based company at up to $70 billion.

Xiaomi would be the first company to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange after the bourse loosens its rules regarding dual-class shares, a move expected as early as this month. Dual-class shares offer an attractive option for IPO hopefuls by letting companies issue stock with different level of voting rights instead of the current "one share, one vote" system.

China is home to several unicorns, unlisted startups valued at $1 billion or more. A listing by Xiaomi would provide strong tailwinds for the Hong Kong bourse, which hopes to attract more of the rarities.

The amount of capital raised through Hong Kong IPOs in the January-March quarter rose 81% on the year.

Xiaomi also is expected to sell shares on the mainland market by offering Chinese depositary receipts, financial instruments that let investors in other markets hold shares through a bank or other intermediary. China likely will debut the depositary receipts soon in an bid to make domestic exchanges more attractive.

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