Xinhuanet.com , a news website operated by Xinhua, has applied to hold an initial public offering (IPO) on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said on its website.
It will be the second heavyweight state-controlled site to list on the mainland, after the news portal run by People's Daily, the Communist Party's mouthpiece, raised 527 million yuan (HK$648 million) in April last year.
The securities regulator's website shows Xinhuanet's sponsor is China International Capital Corp.
The application is under review, the CSRC said. It did not say how much money Xinhuanet wants to raise or how long it will take to get approval. That process took more than two years for People.cn .
Reuters reported in 2011 that Xinhuanet might look to raise one billion yuan from the IPO, but the company has not confirmed the amount.
"Xinhuanet was once People.cn 's rival to be the first official website to be listed, because being the first would attract investors," said Xie Wen, an internet analyst and former Yahoo China president.
He said Xinhuanet lost the race because it has numerous jumbled subsidiaries.
"Xinhua has countless companies under it, most of which are operating poorly," Xie said.
It is unknown what assets will be wrapped into Xinhuanet for the offering.
Beijing has been encouraging the official news websites to be listed on the mainland stock markets to seek financial support for their growth and to promote Chinese media's influence globally.
Many privately owned mainland sites - such as Sina, Baidu and Tencent - have listed on the Nasdaq or in Hong Kong.
"Many official websites are keen to raise money from the stock market, but whether their IPO will be approved depends on the reaction of the market," Xie said.
People.cn  had a strong debut, rising 74 per cent on its first trading day, and raised 1.4 billion yuan from its IPO, almost three times the amount it had planned.
Xinhua Network has a registered capital of 155.7 million yuan. The state-sponsored China Culture Industrial Investment Fund said on its website it has invested in Xinhuanet, without revealing the size of its investment.Topics: Xinhua News Agency China Securities Regulatory Commission IPO News Websites