Xiaomi, a Chinese Technology Darling, Slumps After IPO

Posted July 8, 2018 11:49 p.m. EDT

HONG KONG — Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone-maker, fell about 4 percent in its trading debut in Hong Kong on Monday, in a slow start for the first of what may be a slew of Chinese technology companies selling shares to the public there in coming months.

The company, which makes affordable smartphones and other gadgets, is a longtime Chinese technology darling. It has become one of the world’s largest smartphone-makers. The company has also expanded heavily into India and has ambitions to enter other markets, raising the tantalizing prospect that it could become a rare Chinese technology company that grows beyond its home.

But the company’s financial filings showed slow going for its effort to move beyond making cheap gadgets and expand into the potentially more profitable business of offering online services. Xiaomi also postponed a plan to offer shares in mainland China, which would have given it access to capital from still more investors. Hong Kong is a Chinese city but operates under its own laws, which means China’s investment restrictions do not apply to investors around the world wanting to buy shares there.

It is not clear how Xiaomi’s disappointing offering will affect other high-flying technology firms Hong Kong hopes to attract. The city has loosened its rules to attract more big-name Chinese technology companies and benefit from one of the world’s biggest online booms. Hong Kong hopes to lure companies like Didi Chuxing, China’s answer to Uber, and Ant Financial, the financial arm of the Alibaba Group, which are making plans to go public. In recent years, companies like Alibaba have taken their initial public offerings to the United States.

In a speech Monday, Lei Jun, the company’s founder and chairman, said he expected others to follow.

“Without the innovation of the Hong Kong capital markets, it would be difficult for us to have a chance to list publicly in Hong Kong,” Lei said, according to a transcript provided by the company. “I believe that in the future, there will be more high-quality internet companies coming to Hong Kong.”

Xiaomi’s shares were trading at 16.32 Hong Kong dollars (about $2.08) Monday morning, compared with their offering price of HK$17.