SenseTime Postpones Hong Kong IPO, Plans Updated Prospectus
(Bloomberg) -- Chinese artificial intelligence firm SenseTime Group Inc. said it remains committed to completing its initial public offering after postponing the Hong Kong listing to update its prospectus with new U.S. sanctions on the company.
SenseTime will issue refunds to retail investors as it works to publish a supplemental prospectus with an updated listing timetable and other relevant information, it said in a statement to the Hong Kong exchange.
The delay comes after a move by the U.S. Treasury Department on Friday sanctioning the company for its alleged role in creating facial-recognition software used in the oppression of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang autonomous region of Western China.
Bankers had been gauging investor interest in the IPO when news broke about the plan to add the firm to the Treasury Department’s list of so-called Chinese military-industrial complex companies, timed to fall on Human Rights Day as well as SenseTime’s expected pricing.
SenseTime said in a statement on Saturday that the U.S. government’s accusations are “unfounded and reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of our company.” The firm has “been caught in the middle of geopolitical disputes” and it will “take appropriate action to protect the interests of our company and our stakeholders.”
The U.S. has a “malicious intention” to contain China by exploiting the Xinjiang issue, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Monday at a regular press briefing in Beijing.
“We urge the U.S. to rescind the wrong decision, and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs and harming our interests,” he said. “If the U.S. is insisting on this, we will take forceful measures in retaliation.”
Chinese online broker Futu Holdings Ltd. said it would refund all fees, interest and costs to retail investors who subscribed to the IPO.
SenseTime had been seeking to raise as much as $768 million from the listing, and shares were expected to start trading on Dec. 17. China International Capital Corp., Haitong International Securities Group Ltd. and HSBC Holdings Plc were listed in the prospectus as joint sponsors.
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