China’s Xinhua plans domestic IPO

January 7, 2013
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China stock exchange/FILE
China stock exchange/FILE
SHANGHAI, Jan 7 – China’s official Xinhua News Agency plans to list its online news portal, the securities regulator said, which would make it the second state-owned media outlet to offer shares domestically.

Xinhuanet.com, the agency’s website, had applied to the China Securities Regulatory Commission for approval of an initial public offer (IPO) for a future Shanghai listing, the regulator said over the weekend.

Xinhua has hired Beijing-based investment bank China International Capital Corp. as the main underwriter, the commission said, but gave no timetable or size for the offer.

China is pushing listings of state media and the Xinhua stock offer, if carried out, would follow a similar move by the Communist Party’s mouthpiece the People’s Daily last year.

The newspaper raised 1.4 billion yuan ($225 million) in April last year from the public offer of its website.

Shares of People’s Daily Online surged more than 70 percent on its first trading day and the stock has nearly doubled from its debut price, closing up 2.61 percent at 38.16 yuan on Monday.

Up to 10 state media outlets — including China Central Television — are planning domestic listings of their websites, as China seeks to combat the growing influence of social media and make state media more competitive.

Social media, such as microblogs similar to Twitter, as well as online news offerings, including websites operated by Chinese Internet giants Sina and Sohu, are challenging staid state media for readers and viewers.

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