A year after being thrown off the New York Stock Exchange, China Mobile plans to raise up to 56 billion yuan ($8.8 billion) in what may be the country’s largest public offering in a decade.
As a growing number of US-traded Chinese firms seek listings in China or Hong Kong amid mounting Sino-US tensions, the world’s largest mobile network provider by total subscribers is selling shares publicly in Shanghai.
Over allegations of human rights violations, Washington banned Chinese companies last month, including AI firm SenseTime Group, and finalised measures to throw non-compliant Chinese firms off American markets in three years.
In a prospectus, China Mobile said it wants to offer up to 845 million shares at 57.58 yuan each, raising up to 48.7 billion yuan before exercising an over-allotment option.
According to Refinitiv statistics, if that option is fully exercised, the public share sale will raise up to 56 billion yuan, making it China’s fifth-largest ever. It would also be the biggest IPO in China since the Agricultural Bank of China went public in 2010.
The revenues from the offering would be used to create projects such as premium 5G networks, cloud infrastructure, and intelligent ecosystems, according to China Mobile.
China Telecom and China Unicom, China Mobile’s smaller state-owned rivals, are already listed in China.
The three were delisted from the New York Stock Exchange following a Trump-era decision to ban investment in Chinese technology companies, which the Biden administration has maintained despite ongoing tensions between Washington and Beijing.
In addition to the sanctions, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this month finalised guidelines under the Holding Foreign Corporations Accountable Act to delist U.S.-listed Chinese companies (HFCAA).
Five of the top ten Hong Kong listings in 2021, including Baidu and Bilibili Inc, were secondary listings of US-listed Chinese firms, according to accounting firm EY, and the trend of Chinese companies returning home will continue.