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China's Li Auto surges more than 50% after Nasdaq debut

Kitco News

(Reuters) - Li Auto Inc’s stock soared more than 50% following its debut on Nasdaq on Thursday, after the Chinese electric vehicle maker sold shares to investors in its $1.1 billion initial public offering (IPO) for a higher-than-expected price.

The stock opened at $15.5 and extended gains to rise as much as $17.50, adding to the growing list of strong debuts this year.

The offering of 95 million American depositary shares (ADS) was priced at $11.5 per share. The company initially had aimed to sell its shares at between $8 and $10 per share.

Li Auto’s IPO in New York comes at a time when U.S.-listed Chinese companies are facing tightened scrutiny and strict audit requirements from U.S. regulators, as geopolitical tensions between the world’s two largest economies escalate.

Sentiment towards Chinese firms among U.S. investors has also been hit by the fallout from Luckin Coffee Inc, a Chinese coffee chain, which was listed on Nasdaq and earlier this year disclosed that some of its employees fabricated sales accounts.

The IPO, one of the biggest U.S. listings by a Chinese company this year, values Li Auto at around $10 billion.

Private equity firm Hillhouse Capital agreed to invest $300 million in the company as part of the IPO, the company said in a regulatory filing earlier this month.

The IPO of the five-year-old automaker, formerly known as CHJ Automotive, comes nearly two years after Chinese peer NIO Inc went public in New York.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS and CICC were among the underwriters for the IPO.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel

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