China bitcoin miner Canaan Creative ditches US for Hong Kong IPO

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 May, 2018, 3:07pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 May, 2018, 5:12pm

Canaan Creative, China’s second-largest bitcoin mining hardware maker, is planning to seek an initial public offering in Hong Kong instead of the US, which if successful would make it the first blockchain-related company to list on the city’s bourse, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Hangzhou-based company is seeking to raise as much as US$1 billion for its IPO, the people said, asking not to be identified because the process isn’t public. Canaan had previously said it was considering both Hong Kong and the US for a share sale. A final decision has not been made and things can still change, according to the people. Canaan declined to comment on its listing plans.

Founded in 2013, Canaan designs and sells high-performance integrated circuits and is behind the Avalon series of bitcoin mining machines. In January, the company released unaudited results that showed annual net income in 2017 of 410 million yuan (US$64 million), a 600 per cent increase from a year earlier.

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The bitcoin miner has previously sought an IPO several times. In 2016, Canaan tried to gain a listing in China’s yuan-denominated A-share market through buying Shandong-based electric equipment maker Luyitong. The plan flopped after regulators questioned the deal for being overvalued.

Last year, amid China’s ban on trading cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs), Canaan tried again to apply for a listing in China’s “New Third Board” market aimed at start-ups with its less stringent listing requirements. That again did not come through, though the company did not disclose the reasons why.

The majority of Canaan’s clients are still from China, as the country has dominated the mining market with its cheap supply of electricity. However, the clampdown by Chinese regulators on cryptocurrencies raises a question over Canaan’s ability to maintain its pace of growth.

The company pans to expand into the software business besides just producing chips, Canaan Creative co-chairman Kong Jianping said in a phone interview in April.

Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley are the banks understood to be working on the IPO.