Baidu gets Hong Kong’s nod for second listing


Chinese search engine giant Baidu Inc. has secured approval from the Hong Kong stock exchange for a second listing in the city, according to people familiar with the matter.

Nasdaq-listed Baidu plans to launch its share sale as soon as next week.The offering could raise at least $3.5 billion.

A representative for the company declined to comment. Shares in Baidu fell 6.2% in the U.S. on Thursday amid a selloff in technology stocks.

Baidu follows online car-sales website Autohome Inc. in seeking a trading foothold in the Asian financial hub this year, after a wave of such share sales in 2020 which saw some $17 billion raised.

Other companies looking at selling shares in the city include Tencent Music Entertainment Group and video company

A wave of U.S.-listed Chinese firms have been listing in Hong Kong since Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
kicked off the trend in late 2019. Deteriorating relations between the world’s two biggest economies have risked threatening Chinese companies’ access to America’s capital markets. The second listings also enable the companies to expand their investor bases closer to their home markets.

Once one of China’s big three tech leaders alongside Alibaba and Tencent Holdings Ltd., Baidu is now playing catch-up as the country’s internet users increasingly shift from desktop to mobile.

It began years ago to sink billions of dollars into areas from language learning to voice interaction and autonomous driving, betting on smart devices and vehicles of the future. But that endeavor ran into trouble in the initial stages, capped by the departures of several pivotal executives.

Now, aided by steady investment in R&D and Beijing’s focus on developing smart nationwide infrastructure, commercialization cases are finally coming to the fore: in January, the company announced it’s teaming up with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group to produce smart electric vehicles. The tie-up is intended to help Baidu deploy its Apollo self-driving tech in more vehicles, a person familiar with the matter has said.