China’s second-largest online retailer announces US IPO listing

PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 January, 2014, 2:46pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 April, 2015, 11:26am

The online retailer aims to raise US$1.5 billion (HK$1.9 billion) in an initial public offering in the US, according to a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, making it the largest IPO of a Chinese internet company in the US so far.

The company is China’s second-largest online retailer after Alibaba. It has pre-empted the latter’s long-announced intention to list on a stock exchange., founded by its chairman Richard Liu Qiangdong only ten years ago, had 35.8 million customer accounts by the end of the third quarter of last year, according to the filing, three times the number it had just two years ago.

In the same period, it achieved a net revenue of 49.6 billion yuan. After two years of losses, the company said it registered a profit of 60 million yuan in the first three-quarters of last year.

The company said it would use the funds raised to “acquire land use rights, build new warehouses and establish more delivery stations,” according to the filing. It currently operated 82 warehouses and 1,453 delivery stations across China, it said. has received US$1.7 billion in private equity funding over the last two years, Asian Venture Capital Journal reported earlier this month.

The most prominent investor is the Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who invested US$400 million in February last year. His Kingdom Holding concern owns about five per cent of the company prior to the listing. Founder Liu held about 46.2 per cent of shares, according to the filing.

The announcement came a week after a US judge suspended the Chinese arms of the world's four largest auditing firms - KPMG, Ernst & Young, Deloitte & Touche and PricewaterhouseCoopers – for failing to disclose auditing records on Chinese companies that listed in the US. audited by a Shanghai-based PricewaterhouseCoopers subsidiary, cautioned in its filing that it may be “adversely affected by the outcome of the proceedings". Hong Kong was also considered for the listing, Bloomberg reported.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch and UBS are managing the IPO, according to the filing.

Chinese companies raised US$907 million by listing in the US last year, more than five times the 2012 total, according to the Asian Venture Capital Journal.