Lei Jun, chairman of Kingsoft and founder of Xiaomi. Photo: YouTube

Beijing Office Software, a developer of WPS Office, which is an equivalent to Microsoft Office, plans to raise 2.05 billion yuan (US$300.5 million) in a listing on the Sci-Tech Board of the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

On Wednesday evening, the company, a 67.5%-owned unit of Kingsoft Corp, a Hong Kong-listed company, was accepted as a listing applicant by the Sci-Tech Board, according to a statement on the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s website.

It plans to issue 101 million new shares, or 21.91% of its stake, while China International Capital Corp is the sponsor of the initial public offering.

The company said it will use the proceeds from its offering to develop cloud and artificial intelligence technologies while increasing overseas promotion of its WPS Office. It said it will use big data and mobile internet technologies to improve users’ experience, making the company a world-class software developer.

According to the listing prospectus, the company said its net profit grew to 311 million yuan last year from 214 million yuan in 2017 and 130 million yuan in 2016. Revenue increased to 1.13 billion yuan in 2018, compared with 753 million yuan in 2017 and 543 million yuan in 2016. Its gross margin fell to 86.72% last year from 88.23% in 2017.

At the end of 2018, the number of monthly active users of WPS Office reached 120 million on desktops and 181 million on mobile devices. WPS Office enjoyed a 42.75% share in the office software market in China. Apart from WPS Office, Beijing Office Software also sells PowerWord, an English dictionary.

In May 2017, Beijing Office Software announced its plan to raise 565 million yuan in an initial public offering in ChiNext, the second board of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, but the plan was scrapped due to technical issues in December that year.

Lei Jun, chairman of Kingsoft and founder of smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp, now indirectly controls 11.99% of shares in Beijing Office Software.

Office software should not only be a tool for word processing and communication but also provide multi-functions and real-time support to users, Xu Xiaoheng, a co-founder of China’s New Third Board Investment Alliance, told Beijing Business Today.

The office market in China keeps growing, while a fundraising move will definitely help Kingsoft strengthen its core competitiveness, Xu said.

However, it will take some time to see whether Kingsoft can launch some new products that will be well-recognized in the market, he said.

Leave a comment