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Muji-esque retailer Miniso valued at $6bn in New York IPO

Tencent-backed Chinese lifestyle chain brings in $600m for expansion

Miniso marked its New York IPO on Thursday with an event at its Guangzhou headquarters.

GUANGZHOU -- Miniso Group Holding, a Chinese operator of variety stores with a Japanese aesthetic, debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in an share sale that valued it at more than $6 billion.

The retailer sold 30.04 million American depositary shares Thursday at $20 each in its initial public offering, raising $608 million that will go toward expanding the chain as well as other investments such as improvements to its distribution network.

Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings, together with a private equity firm, invested 1 billion yuan ($148 million at current rates) in Miniso in September 2018. Tencent owns 4.8% of the company after the IPO.

The shares ended the trading day up slightly at $20.88.

Miniso operates more than 4,200 stores in over 80 markets worldwide, selling a wide range of goods including stationery, cosmetics and candy, mostly priced at less than 50 yuan, or about $7.40.

Its lineup of more than 8,000 products includes collaborations with such brands as Disney and Hello Kitty. The brand has won a following among millennials in China, where it has about 2,500.

"Our mission is to enable every person in the world to easily enjoy a high-quality lifestyle," Miniso founder and CEO Ye Guofu said at a ceremony in Guangzhou, where the company is based, to mark the listing.

The stores have been compared the Muji chain of no-frills home goods stores run by Japan's Ryohin Keikaku. Similarities have also been noted between Miniso's logo and that of Fast Retailing's Uniqlo casualwear.

On a 2013 trip to Japan, Ye discovered the country's home goods and lifestyle stores, "where products are not only of good quality and design, but mostly made in China." This inspired him to start his own brand, according the company's Chinese website.

Miniso reported a net loss of $36.8 million for the fiscal year ended in June, owing partly to the cost of opening new stores. Revenue fell 4% to $1.27 billion. Improving profitability remains a challenge for the company, which analysts say has a thinner gross profit margin than competing retailers.

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