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China Mobile could raise almost $9 billion from Shanghai IPO

Having been booted out of the New York Stock Exchange, China Mobile is doing the sensible thing and offering its shares in China.

The world’s biggest mobile operator announced the move in a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange today, where it’s already listed. If China Mobile sells every single share it’s making available the total amount raised will be 56 billion RMB, which converts to around $8.8 billion. That’s a serious chunk of change, much of which will presumably be spent on its 5G rollout. Good news for Huawei and ZTE, then.

As you would expect the filing is a dry affair, with little insight into the process, reasons or use of the funds. Of course everyone knows the reason China Mobile is having to repatriate its share listing is the decision by the US government to pressure the New York Stock Exchange into kicking all Chinese operators out, on some kind of vague national security pretext, earlier this year.

A successful listing would presumably be considered a potent act of defiance by the Chinese Communist Party, although state mouthpiece Global Times doesn’t seem to have much to say on the matter. Instead it’s focusing on the standard diplomatic tantrum the CCP throws any time another country acknowledges the existence of Taiwan. In this case it’s Lithuania on the naughty step, with retaliatory economic sanctions likely.

There’s also some foot stamping over the West’s criticism of some recent elections in Hong Kong, so it’s business as usual at the GT. As if to illustrate the dysfunctional but co-dependent relationship between China and the West, however, the most read story is a welcome to 300 US Winter Games athletes. Let’s hope the fragile equilibrium holds.


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