NetEase Inc. raised about HK$21 billion ($2.7 billion) in its Hong Kong stock offering, people with knowledge of the matter said, as Chinese companies grapple with rising tensions between Beijing and Washington.
China’s second-largest gaming company priced 171 million new shares at HK$123 each, equivalent to a 2% discount to its Thursday closing price on Nasdaq, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. That comes after investors subscribed for many times more than the total stock offered. The company earlier set a maximum price of HK$126. The shares are expected to start trading in Hong Kong on June 11.
The U.S.-listed internet giant makes its debut in Hong Kong as tensions between Washington and Beijing threaten to curtail Chinese companies’ access to U.S. capital markets, particularly after once high-flying Luckin Coffee Inc. crashed amid an accounting scandal. It’s also a victory for Hong Kong, coming on the heels of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s $13 billion share sale and the passing of a national security law that critics fear could jeopardize its status as a financial hub. No. 2 Chinese online retailer JD.com Inc. plans to start taking orders on Friday for its listing in the city.
NetEase is a distant second to Tencent Holdings Ltd. in the world’s largest video game market. The creator of popular franchises like Fantasy Westward Journey and Onmyoji reported a 14% rise in online games revenue for the coronavirus-stricken March quarter, less than half of the pace Tencent’s gaming division managed during the same period.
Much like Tencent, NetEase is looking globally for the next chapter of growth, teaming up with Japan’s Studio Ghibli and investing in Canadian game creator Behaviour Interactive. After selling its cross-border e-commerce platform Kaola to Alibaba, the 22-year-old company has shifted its focus to music streaming and online learning, despite worsening competition in these areas. NetEase company representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
China International Capital Corp., Credit Suisse Group AG and JPMorgan Chase and Co. are joint sponsors.