China Display Maker Ditches U.S. to Seek $1.8 Billion Local IPO

Chinese flexible display maker Royole Corp. is seeking to raise as much as 12 billion yuan ($1.8 billion) in an initial public offering on Shanghai’s Star Market board after its U.S. listing plan was shelved, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company plans to file the application to China’s Nasdaq-style trading venue as soon as December, said the people who asked not to be identified as the matter is not public. Royole could see its valuation rise to over $8 billion, said the people, more than what it was seeking in a private funding round last year, which never closed.

Royole, known for manufacturing the world’s first commercial foldable phone, had initially filed confidentially for a U.S. IPO that could raise about $1 billion, Bloomberg News reported earlier this year. It then decided to pursue a listing in mainland China instead.

A representative for Royole declined to comment.

The startup joins a flurry of Chinese companies pivoting to a listing closer to home amid escalating U.S.-China tensions. Chinese firms potentially risk being delisted in the U.S. as the Securities and Exchange Commission plans to push ahead with proposing regulation that would kick off firms not complying with U.S. audit rules.

The final fundraising size depends on market conditions and is still subject to changes, said the people.

Founded by Stanford alumni Bill Liu, Peng Wei and Xiaojun Yu, Royole competes with Samsung Electronics Co. and BOE Technology Group Co. to produce bendable screens using cutting-edge organic light-emitting diode technology.

Royole is working with Airbus to install displays in planes and also collaborates with clothing, furniture and kitchen-supply customers. Royole has said it secured a deal with Louis Vuitton that will see the two companies putting flexible screens on handbags in the future.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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