Alibaba-backed AI startup Megvii files for IPO in Shanghai

Photo: Megvii website

Megvii Technology Ltd. is poised to become the first major Chinese artificial intelligence startup to go public after it filed for a Chinese Depositary Receipt offering on Shanghai’s Star board on Friday.

The startup, backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., plans to issue up to 253 million Class B shares as the underlying stock for the CDR offering, according to its prospectus. The offering may raise at least 6 billion yuan ($922 million) after fees, which will be used to fund research and development in robotics and visual Internet of Things as well as to replenish capital, the filing shows. Citic Securities Co. is the sponsor of the listing.

Megvii is one of the world’s largest AI startups, specializing in areas such as facial recognition. The eight-year-old firm gained fame in part because of China’s obsession with security, which in turn drove a nationwide video-surveillance boom. It registered a loss of 1.03 billion yuan, excluding one-time items, in the first nine months of 2020, according to its prospectus.

The company’s application for a Hong Kong listing about two years ago lapsed after it become one of several Chinese companies the Trump administration blacklisted over alleged involvement in human rights violations against Muslim minorities in China. It now joins Lenovo Group Ltd. in taking advantage of the CDR program Beijing kicked off three years ago to lure promising startups and big names to mainland bourses.

Proceeds from the listing will be used to beef up areas including research and production capacity, the company said in an emailed statement.

“The listing environment on STAR is mature and government policies support and encourage innovative enterprises to go public, so we chose STAR,” it said.

Bloomberg

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.