SenseTime shares soar on first day of HK listing

Shares in China's biggest AI company, SenseTime, soared in its Hong Kong debut on Thursday, just weeks after its first attempt at a stock market listing was blocked in the United States.

SenseTime raised $740 million in its Hong Kong IPO.

It had priced its shares at the bottom of an expected range, valuing the company at over $16 billion dollars, but the share price ticked upwards as the day went on.

The performance comes as a surprise to some analysts, who had expected SenseTime shares to struggle over its inclusion on a U.S. blacklist, which bars Americans from investing in the company.

SenseTime was sanctioned after the U.S. Treasury accused it of developing a facial recognition program that could be used in the persecution of Uyghur Muslims in China.

U.N. experts and rights groups estimate more than a million people, most of whom are Muslim minorities, have been detained in the Xinjiang region in recent years.

Shares worth about $97 million changed hands on Thursday.

SenseTime's cornerstone shareholders - all Chinese institutions - bought two-thirds of the stock on offer, more than previously flagged in the company's first attempt at an IPO.

But when it came to the international stock quota, orders were placed for just 1.5 times the amount of stock on sale.

Analysts said it was one of the poorest take up rates for a major deal in Hong Kong this year.

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