As mainland Chinese companies launch bigger initial public offerings (IPOs) on exchanges in the United States, Beijing-based online brokerage Tiger Brokers is helping investors back home get a cut of these global offerings as a joint bookrunner.
Tiger Brokers, a six-year-old start-up backed by Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, is betting on the use of technology to redefine how IPO investment banking services are delivered to clients. By using mobile internet technology to connect companies with investors, it also hopes to compete for IPO mandates from Chinese issuers.
The brokerage is tapping Chinese investors’ perennial hunger for IPOs as it develops its own niche by diversifying its business beyond just stock trading. China’s new economy sector contributed 16.1 per cent of its gross domestic product in 2018, and its contribution is rising. These companies often turn to offshore markets such as the US and Hong Kong to meet their funding needs.
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In July, it was a joint bookrunner for electric vehicle start-up Li Auto alongside Goldman Sachs, CICC, Morgan Stanley and UBS. Li Auto, which raised US$1.09 billion, is the third-largest US IPO by a Chinese company year to date. Tiger Brokers is also a joint bookrunner along with Credit Suisse and Citi on the US IPO of children’s e-learning app iHuman, which has filed this month to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Last year, it jointly underwrote 12 US IPOs from Chinese companies.
“As a technology start-up ourselves, we understand the pain points faced by entrepreneurs in fundraising as we have gone through the same life cycle,” said Fang Lei, a director at Tiger Brokers, which was listed on Nasdaq in March 2019. “We want to be the IPO investment bank for Chinese tech entrepreneurs.”
Tiger Brokers also took part in the secondary Hong Kong listing of US-listed Chinese internet giant NetEase, which completed a US$2.7 billion IPO in Hong Kong in June. As joint bookrunner, it helped NetEase raise HK$5 billion (US$645,151) through placements with institutional investors outside Hong Kong.
Chinese issuers accounted for less than 20 per cent of the total funds raised on the NYSE and Nasdaq combined in the first nine months this year, and are raising bigger deals despite US-China trade tensions. They have raised US$6.9 billion from a combined 19 deals on the two exchanges in this period, more than doubling the US$2.6 billion Chinese issuers raised in the first nine months last year, according to data provider Refinitiv.
To be sure, big investment banks such as JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley topped the league table this year because of funds they helped Chinese companies raise in the US, Refinitiv data shows. But Tiger Brokers said it took part in a bigger number of deals, albeit in joint underwriting roles, which also meant it claimed a smaller cut of the fees.
The brokerage started its IPO business in 2017 after receiving its US broker licence. Its IPO business contributes 10 per cent of its revenue currently.
And while it lacks the global distribution network of Wall Street investment banks, Tiger Brokers sees itself as linking Chinese issuers with a growing global pool of Chinese investors with the help of technology, Fang said.
“Our proprietary algorithms capture and analyse the transaction data on our platform, which then makes autosuggestions on IPOs to customers,” he said, adding that “with our mobile internet infrastructure, opening an account online also can be done within several hours”.
More from South China Morning Post:
- Li Auto electrifies Nasdaq with US$1.1 billion IPO, the largest by a Chinese company in the US since 2018
- Chindata, iHuman join string of Chinese companies fundraising in US
- KFC operator Yum China expected to raise US$2.2 billion in secondary listing in Hong Kong
This article Xiaomi-backed Tiger Brokers taps investor frenzy for Chinese tech IPOs in US first appeared on South China Morning Post