Lenovo Plans China Listing, Sending Stock Soaring

 Lenovo Plans China Listing, Sending Stock Soaring

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Lenovo intends to join the STAR Market, China’s answer to the Nasdaq.

Lenovo intends to join the STAR Market, China’s answer to the Nasdaq.

Photo: philippe lopez/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Lenovo Group Ltd.
is capitalizing on two booming markets, Chinese stocks and the global PC industry, to list in Shanghai.

The company is the world’s largest maker of personal computers and is well-known for acquiring
IBM’s
ThinkPad unit and the Motorola Mobility smartphone business. The news that Lenovo would join the STAR Market, China’s answer to the Nasdaq, boosted its Hong Kong-traded shares, which on Wednesday hit their highest level since 2015.

A series of Chinese technology companies have recently listed in mainland China or in Hong Kong, amid heightened tensions with the U.S. Beijing has also encouraged companies to join the fledgling STAR Market, also known as the Science and Technology Innovation Board, by introducing more relaxed listing rules and other requirements compared with other Chinese markets.

Lenovo and Megvii Technology Ltd., an artificial-intelligence startup specializing in facial recognition, will be among the first companies to make use of a structure known as a Chinese depositary receipt to raise funds.

In a filing late Tuesday, Lenovo said it planned to sell stock equivalent to up to 10% of its enlarged ordinary share count. Its shares jumped 9.7% on Wednesday, giving the company a market value of nearly $14 billion.

Chairman

Yuanqing Yang
said that with the offering, Lenovo was “leveraging the booming China capital market” and making it easier for Chinese investors to buy into the company.

Lenovo plans to use the funds for research and development, strategic investments and to replenish working capital. It didn’t give a time frame and said the offering remains subject to market conditions and needs approval from shareholders, exchanges and regulators.

Lenovo, which bought ThinkPad in 2005, now accounts for one in four of the world’s PC shipments. Its PC revenue hit a high in the three months through September.

Like its rivals, Lenovo has benefited from the pandemic, which has led to a surge in remote work and study, and in home entertainment. PC sales growth hit a decade high last year, with global PC shipments rising 13%, according to International Data Corp.

Lenovo will issue Chinese depositary receipts, or CDRs, to new investors. Much like an American depositary receipt, these securities are certificates backed by foreign shares. CDRs are one way for Chinese companies that are incorporated overseas to list domestically. Regulators have also recently allowed some companies that are incorporated offshore, such as
Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp.
, to sell ordinary shares within China.

Megvii, the AI company, is also planning to issue CDRs, and is working with
Citic Securities,
according to a statement uploaded this week by the Beijing branch of China’s securities regulator. Megvii had previously filed for a Hong Kong listing but let that application lapse.

In October,
Ninebot Ltd.
, which makes Segway e-scooters, listed the first CDRs on the STAR Market. The STAR Market was China’s biggest onshore market by funds raised from new listings last year, hosting nearly $32 billion of initial public offerings and secondary listings, according to Dealogic.

Write to Joanne Chiu at joanne.chiu@wsj.com