A clutch of Chinese automotive startups have filed for initial public offerings in Hong Kong, as the financial hub looks to turn the page on a disastrous first half of the year for debuts.
Four companies in the sector submitted applications for first-time share sales, according to filings with the Hong Kong exchange on Friday. Battery maker REPT Battero Energy Co. could be the largest, aiming to raise as much as $1 billion, Bloomberg News reported in February.
RoboSense Technology Co., which develops sensor technologies for self-driving vehicles, and Black Sesame International Holding Ltd., a maker of AI chips and systems for cars, also filed for IPOs. China is looking for ways to support companies in so-called hard tech areas such as AI and semiconductors, and Hong Kong’s exchange operator introduced measures in March to make it easier for such firms to list.
Autostreets Development Ltd, which also filed for a listing on Friday, is China’s largest used vehicle transaction platform, with auction sites in 73 cities across the country, its exchange filing shows.
Hong Kong’s IPO market has been in the doldrums for much of the past two years, amid geopolitical tensions and global concern over rising interest rates. Companies raised just $2.2 billion in the Asian financial hub so far this year, about 19 per cent lower than the same period in 2022, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Bankers are hoping a rebound in IPO volume will come in the second half of this year, though it’s not uncommon for companies to rush out their IPO filings before the half-year end.