Baidu Seeks Up to $3.6 Billion in Hong Kong Second Listing

Search engine giant Baidu Inc. is seeking to raise as much as HK$28 billion ($3.6 billion) in a second listing in Hong Kong, kicking off the second such share sale by a U.S.-traded Chinese firm in the city this year.

Nasdaq-listed Baidu is selling 95 million shares in the offering and has set a maximum price of HK$295 for the portion of the sale reserved for Hong Kong retail investors, it said in a regulatory filing Thursday. That price represents a 19% premium to Baidu’s Wednesday closing price in New York. Baidu rose 6.8% on Thursday.

Baidu Seeks Up to $3.6 Billion in Hong Kong Second Listing

Baidu aims to set the final price before the U.S. market open on March 17 and start trading in Hong Kong on March 23. At $3.6 billion, it would be the biggest so-called homecoming listing of a U.S.-traded Chinese company in Hong Kong since JD.com Inc.’s June 2020 offering, which raised $4.5 billion.

Baidu follows online car-sales website Autohome Inc. in seeking a trading foothold in the Asian financial hub this year, after a wave of such share sales in 2020 which saw some $17 billion raised. Other companies looking at selling shares in the city include Tencent Music Entertainment Group and video company Bilibili Inc.

Autohome raised $688 million after pricing its Hong Kong share sale at about a 5.5% discount to its last closing price in New York on Monday.

A growing cohort of U.S.-traded Chinese firms have been listing in Hong Kong amid deteriorating relations between the world’s two biggest economies. The second listings enable the companies to expand their investor bases closer to their home markets.

The trend has boosted the listing volumes of Hong Kong’s bourse, which now has a growing contingent of tech companies listed there. The city has had a bumper start to the year for initial public offerings, such as video startup Kuaishou Technology’s $6.2 billion debut in February. The Chinese company’s shares are trading 168% above their offering price.

Once one of China’s tech leaders, Baidu is now playing catch-up as the country’s internet users increasingly shift from desktop to mobile. In recent years the company has spent billions of dollars in areas such as language learning and autonomous driving, betting on smart devices and vehicles of the future.

Bank of America Corp., CLSA Ltd. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are joint sponsors of the offering, while China International Capital Corp., UBS Group AG and CCB International (Holdings) Ltd. are joint global coordinators, according to Thursday’s filing.

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