China Mobile plans to raise up to $8.8 billion by listing shares in Shanghai

China Mobile plans to raise up to $8.8 billion by listing shares in Shanghai
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China Mobile is ending the year with a bang.

The Chinese telecom giant announced Tuesday that it wants to raise as much as 56 billion yuan ($8.8 billion) on the Shanghai stock exchange after it was forced to quit Wall Street in January.

In a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange, where its stock also trades, the company said it planned to issue between 845.7 million and 972.6 million new shares for nearly 57.6 yuan (about $9) apiece.

That would make it one of the world’s biggest equity offerings this year, according to Refinitiv.

The massive debut makes for a splashy homecoming for China Mobile. The company did not specify a listing date in its prospectus, but said it planned to apply for its Shanghai debut “as soon as possible.”

Earlier this year, China Mobile, along with two other Chinese state-run telecom firms — China Telecom and China Unicom — were kicked off the New York Stock Exchange, after the Trump administration barred American investment in companies with ties to the Chinese military.

US President Joe Biden signed an executive order in June that expanded the ban.

Since then, China Telecom, the country’s second largest telecom firm, has also listed in Shanghai. Its $7.3 billion raise was one of the world’s largest this year, too.

Meanwhile, China Unicom already trades in Shanghai and Hong Kong, while both China Mobile and China Telecom are listed in Hong Kong.

Last week, China Mobile said that it had received approval from Chinese regulators to move ahead with its latest share sale in Shanghai.

The company said in August that it would use the new funds to shore up its 5G capabilities, as well as cloud infrastructure and smart home projects.

China Mobile is crucial to China’s high-tech ambitions to win the global race in wireless technology. The country wants to triple the number of 5G base stations it has by 2025 — a ramp-up that would cover more than half of the population.

Chinese telecom companies have already built more than 1 million 5G base stations across the country, according to figures from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in September.

In its prospectus, China Mobile said it would use roughly half the money it planned to raise in Shanghai on 5G plans. The target is to build at least 500,000 5G base stations by 2022.

Over the last few years, US-China tensions have complicated Beijing’s tech ambitions, with Washington imposing restrictions on exports of American technologies to Chinese companies, such as Huawei and SMIC.

US officials have also added more Chinese firms to the investment blacklist recently, with drone maker DJI and artificial intelligence startup SenseTime among the latest targets.

China Mobile’s shares were little changed in Hong Kong on Tuesday immediately following the news.

— Laura He and Eric Cheung contributed to this report.

The-CNN-Wire
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