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Market Savvy | SAVVY CONFIDENTIAL / A Briefing for
Investors

China Unicom IPO Raises $4.9 Billion

June 22, 2000|Times Wire Services

China's second-largest telecommunications company on Wednesday raised $4.92 billion in an initial public offering of stock that was reasonably well-received by U.S. investors.

China Unicom (ticker symbol: CHU) closed at $22.38 on the New York Stock Exchange, up from its initial offering price of $20 a share.

The IPO was one of the biggest in Asian history. The company's shares also will begin trading in Hong Kong today.

China Unicom, a unit of state-run China United Telecommunications Ltd., is the second largest provider of cellular service in China, and the largest paging system operator. China United remains the majority shareholder in Unicom, controlling about 75%.

The Chinese government created Unicom in 1993 in a bid to open the country's telecom industry, which was dominated by China Telecommunications Ltd. That former monopoly was split into two parts, China Telecommunications Corp. and China Mobile Telecommunications Corp.

To help Unicom compete, Beijing gave it China Mobile's paging business and other assets. It also gave it special treatment, such as a right to offer discounts of up to 60% from government-set price levels.

Demand for state-run Chinese companies has been spurred by expectations that they will prosper as the government loosens its grip on the economy and prepares to join the World Trade Organization.

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