AI Speech, an Alibaba-backed company involved in speech recognition and AI chip design, has moved a step forward in its quest for a public listing on Shanghai’s Star Market . The Jiangsu province-based company began completing a Q&A from the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Wednesday, representing the second step in a vetting process that normally takes well over a year. The company aims to raise 10.3 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) from an eventual initial public offering (IPO), it said in a filing submitted in July. Its target is not far from the biggest IPO on the Star board this year; chipmaker Hygon Information Tech raised US$1.6 billion earlier this month. AI Speech plans to issue new shares equivalent to no less than 10 per cent of its enlarged issued share capital, according to a heavily redacted draft prospectus. Other terms of the proposed offering are not available. The company said it would invest the net proceeds from the listing in internet-of-things (IoT) technology and its dialogue user interface (DUI), its core technology. After answering queries from the Shanghai bourse operator, AI Speech still needs to jump through several more hoops, the next one being vetting by the exchange’s listing committee. Two University of Cambridge graduates founded AI Speech in 2007. Its chief executive, Gao Shixing, is a graduate in computer science there. Co-founder and chief scientist Yu Kai also serves as a professor in the computer science and engineering department of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The company had a valuation of about US$640 million after its last funding round, completed in October 2020. The two founders together hold a stake of about 19.5 per cent. Alibaba Group Holding, the owner of the Post , owns about 13.2 per cent, according to the draft filing. The company’s offerings find use in smartphones, electric vehicles and smart home devices. Customers include Li Auto, SAIC Motor, Huawei and Haier. “Our mission is to communicate with all things, and manage all things,” the company said in its filing, explaining its focus on combining software and hardware technologies in artificial intelligence . In smart cars, the DUI platform gives users voice-command access to journey-related information such as navigation, music and weather, the company said. Chinese movie studio Bona Film set for Shenzhen IPO after Nasdaq exit The Star board, officially known as the Shanghai Stock Exchange Science and Technology Innovation Board, is the world’s top IPO venue this year, with a total of 66 IPOs raising US$17.6 billion year-to-date, data from Refinitiv shows. Chinese tech companies are increasingly choosing to raise funds on their home exchanges as their access to the US IPO market has been mired in challenges. Over 250 Chinese issuers identified by the US securities watchdog could face delisting from American exchanges following legislation passed in late 2021. AI Speech’s competitors include Shenzhen-listed iFlyTek and Beijing-based Unisound. The latter applied in 2020 to list on the Star board, but withdrew its application in early 2021. China firm challenging US dominance in chip design software gets IPO approval In 2021 AI Speech reported a net loss of 298 million yuan. Its research and development expenses for the past three years totalled 689.7 million yuan, slightly above its cumulative revenue. Citic Securities is the sole sponsor and underwriter of the deal.