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Chinese online car-selling platform Autohome targets US$984 million in Hong Kong secondary listing

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Georgina Lee georgina.lee@scmp.com
·3 min read
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Autohome, an online platform for buying and selling cars, is seeking to raise up to HK$7.6 billion (US$984 million) through a secondary listing of its shares in Hong Kong.

The Beijing-headquartered company, whose American depositary receipts (ADR) are already trading on the New York Stock Exchange, is selling 30.3 million shares at no more than HK$ 251.8 each.

The Hong Kong public offering runs from Thursday until next Tuesday, with trading on the main board scheduled to start on March 15.

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The company, which is backed by Ping An Group, is one of several technology, media and telecoms companies planning to raise funds in Hong Kong in the first half of the year.

Another car-related digital platform, Dida, is aiming to raise up to US$500 million, according to people familiar with the transaction. Dida, an online carpooling and taxi-hailing service, is backed by venture capital firm IDG, and counts Nio Capital, the investing arm of electric vehicle maker Nio, among its investors.

Autohome kicks off its Hong Kong public offering. Photo: Sina alt=Autohome kicks off its Hong Kong public offering. Photo: Sina

Autohome is 49 per cent owned by Yun Chen Capital, a subsidiary of retail finance services group Ping An Group. Yun Chen Capital is selling about 10.1 million of its existing shares through the deal, about a third of the total global offering.

Overnight, Autohome shares fell 4 per cent to close at US$113.29, snapping three days of gains. Each Autohome ADR represents four ordinary shares.

Autohome runs two websites, with the domain names "autohome" and "che168". It claims to be the largest online car advertising and "leads generation service provider" in revenue terms, with a 30 per cent market share, according to data from iResearch cited in the company's preliminary filing. Its lead generation service enables car dealers using its platform to create their own online stores.

Its net profit attributable to shareholders rose 6.4 per cent to 3.4 billion yuan (US$525 million) in 2020, from 3.2 billion yuan in 2019, data from the filing shows.

Autohome plans to use the proceeds for product development, and upgrading the technologies it uses such as augmented reality and virtual reality. It will also seek expansion opportunities domestically and in Southeast Asian markets.

CICC, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse are the joint sponsors of the deal.

The secondary listing by Autohome has come amid a surge in fundraising by mainland tech, media and telecom (TMT) companies via listings on the Hong Kong bourse, as well as on the domestic Chinese stock exchanges in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Earlier in February, the record-setting IPO by Tencent-backed short video platform Kuaishou raised US$5.4 billion (prior to the exercise of an over-allotment option), locking up as much as US$1.3 trillion in subscription capital after its retail allocation was oversubscribed by some 1,200 times.

Last year saw 164 IPOs by mainland Chinese tech companies, which together raised 346.8 billion yuan through onshore and offshore listings, twice the amount raised in 2019, data from PWC shows.

"We expect that 2021 will be a big year for IPOs of TMT companies, with the possibility of setting new highs in both A shares and overseas markets," said Jianbin Gao, mainland China TMT industry leader at PWC, in a press release on Monday.

Other big IPOs in the sector that could kick off this month include the secondary listings of Chinese internet search giant Baidu, and short video platform Bilibili.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2021 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2021. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.