Chinese drone maker Ehang has secretly filed an application for an initial public offering with Nasdaq, seeking to raise as much as $200 million, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The drone maker joins a number of Chinese startups seeking to raise funds on US stock markets, such as coffee chain Luckin Coffee, despite Beijing’s efforts to lure high-tech firms to list domestically.

  • China has set up a Nasdaq-style tech board on the Shanghai Stock Exchange to boost investments to the country’s high-tech sectors, but the bourse gives its preference to companies in the semiconductor and traditional manufacturing industries.

Details: Ehang plans to offer 10% to 15% of its shares in the IPO, with the company’s valuation not yet set due to volatile market conditions, according to the report.

  • The company is still deliberating the matter and details of the offering including timeline and fundraising size could still change.

Context: Founded in 2014, the Guangzhou-based company specializes in drones used for commercial uses such as agriculture.

  • The company pivoted to the passenger drone market in 2016 when it unveiled a passenger drone concept which it said would retail for up to $300,000.
  • Early last year, the company said it had tested the vehicle which is capable of carrying one person at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour.
  • In January, EHang was authorized by the Civil Aviation Administration of China as the first company to test autonomous aerial passenger vehicles.
  • The company is testing low-altitude drones to shuttle passengers in Guangzhou.

Writing about semiconductors and telecommunications.

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