seeks funds from IPO to improve portal and add users


PEOPLE.CN Co, which operates the website of the People's Daily, seeks at least 527 million yuan (US$84 million) from an initial public offering in Shanghai to improve its portal and add users.

The web portal will use proceeds from the stock sale to improve its service for mobile phone users, upgrade networks and boost hiring of editorial staff, it said in an IPO prospectus filed to the Shanghai Stock Exchange yesterday., one of the first state-controlled media to list, will set the price for its IPO on April 20, and start marketing the stock to investors today, it said. said it is upgrading services to attract users and compete with online portals run by companies, including US- listed Sina Corp and Inc.

"In terms of website visitors, we are significantly lagging commercial websites such as Sina and Sohu," said in the prospectus. Competitors enjoy advantages in accessing capital markets and content, it said. will use IPO proceeds to fund a 527 million yuan, 3-year spending program to upgrade services, it said. If the company raises more money from the IPO than is needed for the spending program, the surplus will be used for working capital, it said. will offer 69 million shares, representing 25 percent of its enlarged share capital, in the proposed IPO. At present, People's Daily owns almost 80 percent of the website's stock.

Xinhuanet, the online portal of Xinhua news agency, may raise 1 billion yuan in Shanghai soon, sources have said.


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