IPO mania in China creates three new billionaires in week

Bloomberg August 28 | Updated on August 28, 2020

The skyscrapers of Pudong in Shanghai   -  Bloomberg

ChiNext board allows IPOs to trade without limit in debut week; Hu Kun, Steven Yang and Dai Lizhong are new billionaires

The pace of wealth creation in China just reached a whole new level.

Just ask Hu Kun, Chairman of Contec Medical Systems Co. Shares of the instruments maker surged more than 10-fold in its market debut Monday and recorded a 986 per cent jump through Thursday. That means the 49 per cent stake Hu owns with his father took their combined fortune to $3.1 billion practically overnight, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Wang Guili, a Contec director who owns 15 per cent of the company, is now worth $947 million after briefly hitting billionaire status earlier in the week.

Of the two dozen or so companies that are debuting in China this week, at least three produced new billionaires as of Thursday.

That may become even more common as China seeks to liberalise its capital markets. Companies on Shenzhen’s ChiNext tech board no longer have trading limits during their first week, similar to the one-year-old Star board in Shanghai. The 18 firms that listed on ChiNext Monday gained an average 212 per cent by the close.

Initial public offerings have been an important channel for wealth creation in China, and the coronavirus outbreak didn’t prevent the market from minting new billionaires. At least 24 people joined the exclusive club in the first half of the year, including former teachers, accountants and software developers.

Contec sells products including oximeters, ultrasound equipment and medical monitors to more than 130 countries, including the US, India and Canada. Revenue climbed 6.8% last year to 387 million yuan ($56 million), with 73 per cent coming from abroad, according to the company’s prospectus.

Contec didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Monday’s IPO frenzy boosted other fortunes, including that of Steven Yang. The founder and chief executive officer of phone-charger maker Anker Innovations Technology Co. is now worth $3.7 billion, mostly thanks to the initial pop in the shares. He’s an ex-Google employee who used his mother’s savings to found Anker in 2011.

“We are very happy that people are sort of voting for us by buying our stock,” Yang said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Tuesday.

While the rest of the week was relatively quiet, Dai Lizhong, whose Sansure Biotech Inc. starts trading on Friday, has also become a billionaire. His 37 per cent stake in the firm is now worth $1.1 billion, based on the IPO price. A handful of companies are scheduled to debut in China Friday.

And with about 25 companies in the IPO pipeline for Shanghai and Shenzhen in the next two weeks, more people might be popping Champagne corks soon.

Published on August 28, 2020

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