Baidu shares rise 0.79% at secondary HK IPO, marking ‘second entrepreneurship’
Published: Mar 23, 2021 11:23 AM
Li Yanhong  Photo: Courtesy of Baidu

Li Yanhong Photo: Courtesy of Baidu

Baidu is "starting a new undertaking" for second time by listing on the Hong Kong bourse, said Baidu CEO Robin Li Yanhong on Tuesday, minutes before he struck the gong at the firm's IPO ceremony in Hong Kong. 

At opening, Baidu's shares surged 0.79 percent after raising at least HK$24 billion for its secondary listing. The company's shares opened at HK$254, above initial public offering price of HK$252. 

"Today Baidu is no longer a high-profile child, but an ambitious youngster. We are starting off again by returning to Hong Kong for secondary listing, and we will grasp the opportunities and keep our brevity," he said at the ceremony. 

Liu Dingding, an independent tech analyst, said that Li's comments showed Baidu's focus from being a mere search engine company to artificial intelligence firm, where Baidu has achieved success in areas like cloud computing and autonomous driving. 

"Listing in Hong Kong could help Baidu raise funds, which would then be channeled into researching and development," he told the Global Times.

Baidu's Hong Kong IPO, though not of the same massive scale compared to its counterpart Alibaba, marks the firm's return to home markets after its stocks started trading on the Nasdaq market 16 years ago. It also marks the latest "homecoming" share sale by a Chinese technology giant by a backdrop of China-US political tensions. 

So far, Baidu has joined a long list of US-listed Chinese tech giants that have done secondary offerings in Hong Kong including Alibaba, and NetEase. China's three new-energy vehicle start-ups -- Li Auto Inc, Nio Inc and Xpeng Inc - are also reportedly plan to list in Hong Kong this year. 

It also marks the final member of the BAT, the abbreviation for China's three tech giants Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, to go public in Hong Kong. 

Li said that Hong Kong is Baidu's best choice to seek secondary listing, though the company had also considered listing in Shanghai and Shenzhen earlier. 

"Hong Kong's international market means that Baidu can get access to more active liquidity. I believe its market value could return to above $100 billion in a short period of time," Li said. 

He also noted that although Baidu is listed in Hong Kong, its business divisions could go public separately in mainland markets, particularly the science and technology innovation board, in the future.