SHANGHAI Jan 7 The online portal of China's
state-run Xinhua news agency has applied for a Shanghai initial
public offering, the securities regulator said, in what would be
the second listing of a government website in a year.
Xinhuanet.com's planned IPO is likely to attract strong
interest from investors, given Xinhua's status as the Communist
Party's mouthpiece and its clout among China's state-owned
Once listed, Xinhuanet would become China's second
publicly-traded media company backed by the central government,
after People.cn Co Ltd, the online portal of
People's Daily that went public last April.
Xinhuanet's IPO application is being vetted by the China
Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), the regulator said on
its website on Saturday, without indicating when the IPO would
"Xinhuanet and People.cn are comparable in their business
model and political status," said Zhang Zejing, a Beijing-based
analyst at Hongyuan Securities. "If you look at People.cn's
debut, you would have an idea how hot Xinhuanet's IPO could be."
People.cn attracted pre-IPO investments from state-owned
giants including China Mobile Ltd, China Unicom
and China Telecom Corp Ltd and its shares
opened 55 percent higher on the first day of trading.
A listing of Xinhuanet has been in the works for some time,
with sources telling Reuters in late 2011 that the portal
planned to raise about 1 billion yuan ($160 million).
With reporters based in more than 100 countries and regions,
the news portal is the authorised agency to announce
appointments of government officials. It publishes news around
the clock, in six languages, and generates income from
More than 800 Chinese companies are queuing to be listed,
with some companies having to wait for several years, but
Xinhuanet may receive special approval for an IPO due to its
political status, analysts said.
Beijing has been encouraging state media to raise funds to
allow them to more effectively compete against new media giants
such as Sina Corp and Sohu.com Inc.
At the same time, the government has also been tightening
control over the Internet and social media.
Last month, Beijing unveiled tighter Internet controls,
legalising the deletion of posts or pages which are deemed to
contain "illegal" information and requiring service providers to
hand over such information to the authorities for punishment.