Updated 13:10, 21 June 2018: Qualcomm is now the sole foreign company on the list of cornerstone investors. The article and its headline have been amended to reflect this development.
Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi’s cornerstone investor list has been released ahead of its Hong Kong IPO. The roll contains only one foreign firm, highlighting a disparity between the views of foreign and local firms about the company’s valuation.
Investors on the list include US-based chipmaker Qualcomm, the asset management businesses of Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Bank of Communications, and China Everbright, as well as Poly Group and Shanghai Municipal Investment Group. The IPO is said to be worth between $65 billion and $80 billion.
The low number of foreign firms on the Xiaomi’s cornerstone investor list underscores a difference in opinion on how Xiaomi’s valuation should be calculated. Foreign investors believe the company’s financial results don’t support a high assessment, and that it should be valued at a price-earnings ratio between that of a hardware company and an internet company.
However, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun and CFO Zhou Shouzi—who is said to have been appointed as senior vice president—believe the company should acquire a valuation of a hardware company plus an internet company and not a balance between the two.
Xiaomi filed for a Hong Kong IPO in early May with an expected valuation of $100 billion. However, this figure has been much debated and was later downgraded to between $65 billion and $70 billion, which would make it the city’s 12th biggest listing based on market capitalization.
Shortly after the IPO announcement, two Xiaomi co-founders resigned. In an internal letter, Lei noted that Zhou Guangping and Huang Jiangji would leave the company, explaining that the founders were choosing a new way of life for personal reasons. However, media reports stated the duo’s positions had long been on the shelf.
On June 19, the company announced it had postponed its plan to simultaneously list on Mainland China’s stock exchanges after it was the first to file a China Depositary Receipt (CDR) application. The company said it would wait until after its Hong Kong IPO.