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Another Large Chinese IPO Lines Up in U.S. After Luckin Scandal

Julia Fioretti

(Bloomberg) -- Dada Nexus Ltd., an operator of crowd-sourced delivery platforms in China backed by JD.Com, has filed for what could be the second large U.S. initial public offering by a Chinese firm since an accounting scandal at Luckin Coffee Inc cast a shadow over such deals.

The listing could raise about $500 million, people familiar with the matter said, making it one of the bigger U.S. IPOs by a Chinese company this year. Dada Nexus operates the JD-Daojia and Dada Now retail and delivery platforms which connect fleets of motorbike delivery staff with merchants in hundreds of Chinese towns and cities.

The filing comes a week after Kingsoft Cloud Holdings Ltd. raised $510 million in the largest U.S. listing by a Chinese company this year. It was the first major trading debut since Luckin Coffee, once a poster child for Chinese startups, was accused of accounting fraud and saw its stock nosedive. U.S. listings could also become harder as the Trump administration moved on Monday to block investments in Chinese stocks by a government retirement savings fund.

Read: Luckin Coffee Scandal Deals Blow to China Inc.’s Reputation

In the latest twist in the Luckin Coffee scandal, the coffee chain fired its CEO and another top executive on Wednesday, a sign of the increasing turmoil at the former success story that until a few months ago had been one of last year’s most high-profile and best performing Chinese IPOs in the U.S.

Kingsoft Cloud shares have climbed 43% from the offer price, a rare mark of success for an asset class that has been marred by sinking share prices over the past year. The success showed the U.S. market is still receptive to Chinese companies even as the two countries clash on the origin of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 291,000 people and infected over 4.2 million.

This year 12 Chinese firms have listed in the U.S. and all but two are trading below their offer prices, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Of the 45 companies that have completed U.S. IPOs since the beginning of 2019, just eight are above water, the data show. They have declined 11.6% on average, weighted by deal size, whereas U.S. listings in general have risen by an average 19%.

Details of Dada Nexus’ offering such as size could still change, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is not public. A spokesman with Dada declined to comment.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Bank of America Corp and Jefferies are leading Dada’s IPO, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

(Adds Trump administration’s move in third para)

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