China’s Q&A Site Zhihu Plans Hong Kong Second Listing
(Bloomberg) -- Chinese online Q&A service Zhihu Inc. is planning a second listing in Hong Kong that could raise about $300 million, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The New York-traded company is working with advisers on the listing and could file as soon as this month, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public.
Details of the offering such as size and timing are preliminary and subject to change, the people said. A representative for Zhihu didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Zhihu joins a wave of U.S.-listed Chinese companies pursuing a trading foothold in Hong Kong as tensions between Washington and Beijing threaten mainland firms’ access to American capital markets. While the risks had previously come predominantly from the U.S. side, with regulators threatening to delist Chinese companies over an accounting dispute, the past six months have seen China’s government also tightening scrutiny on overseas listings.
China’s securities watchdog at the end of last year unveiled sweeping new rules governing offshore share sales by the country’s companies, including requiring those in industries banned from foreign investment to seek a waiver from a negative list before proceeding. All companies with more than a million users will need to undergo a rigorous data security review before seeking foreign listings.
The flow of Chinese companies listing in New York came to an abrupt halt last year in the wake of Didi Global Inc.’s IPO in the summer, which went ahead despite Beijing voicing objections at the time. Subsequently U.S. regulators also paused approvals of listings by Chinese companies pending greater disclosure of the risks shareholders face.
Zhihu raised $523 million in a New York IPO in March last year, led by Credit Suisse Group AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. The company has shed about half of its market value since, as China’s regulatory clampdown has sent mainland firms’ share prices into a prolonged slump. It has a market capitalization of about $2.7 billion.
The last firm to complete a so-called homecoming listing in Hong Kong was Chinese Twitter-like website Weibo Corp. in December, which raised $436 million.
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