US-listed Chinese search engine Baidu has reportedly completed an internal assessment for a secondary listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange, according to a Chinese media report published Monday.

Why it matters: A decision to proceed with the potential listing could expand the market capitalization for China’s largest search engine—currently $46 billion—and help shore up funds after a rough 2019.

  • Baidu in the first quarter of last year posted its first loss since its 2005 US initial public offering. The company faces increased competition for advertising revenue from rivals including Bytedance and Tencent.
  • Chinese online travel platform Trip.com and Netease, China’s second-biggest gaming firm, are reportedly in talks with the Hong Kong Exchange & Clearing Ltd. for secondary listings.
  • An offering in Hong Kong would help Chinese tech companies hedge risks as tensions between China and US intensify.

Details: Following Alibaba’s blockbuster secondary Hong Kong listing in November, reports that Baidu is looking to follow suit are circulating widely in Chinese media.

  • A spokeswoman from Baidu declined to comment on the matter when contacted by TechNode on Monday.

Context: After raising HK$315.5 billion ($40.6 billion) through 184 IPOs in 2019, the Hong Kong exchange is expected to raise a total of between HK$230 billion and HK$260 billion in 2020, according to a report by PWC.

  • In 2005, Baidu raised a total of $109 million at a valuation of $117 million on Nasdaq.
  • Companies with at least two years of listing status on the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, or as a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange are qualified for a secondary listing in Hong Kong, according to the bourse’s listing regime.
  • Companies are required to have a minimum market capitalization of $10 billion and revenue of at least HK$1 billion in the most recent financial year, if market cap is less than HK$40 billion.
  • Around 30 of the more than 200 US-listed Chinese companies meet the standards, including online retailer JD, dating app Momo, anime video platform Bilibili, and online recruitment site 51job, according to Chinese financial news outlet IPO Zaozhidao.

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com. More by Emma Lee

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