China’s richest people are buying into Xiaomi Corp’s imminent Hong Kong initial public offering, conferring their imprimatur on the world’s biggest coming-out party in two years. Former CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd Chairman Li Ka-shing, known in the former British colony as “superman” for his business acumen, plans to invest $30 million for an unknown slice of the Chinese smartphone maker, according to people familiar with the matter. Alibaba founder Jack Ma and Tencent Chairman Pony Ma — the country’s two richest persons — have also agreed to take stakes in Xiaomi, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing personal investments.
The billionaire triumvirate join a group of big corporate names backing an IPO that could raise as much as $6.1 billion — the world’s biggest first-time share sale since Postal Savings Bank of China Co raised $7.6 billion in Hong Kong in 2016. China Mobile Ltd, the nation’s biggest wireless carrier, and US chipmaker Qualcomm Inc are among those that’ve agreed to participate as cornerstone investors, according to terms for the deal obtained by Bloomberg.
Li’s participation could go down well with individual investors in Hong Kong, where the now-retired businessman enjoys near-celebrity status. He is investing through the Li Ka Shing Foundation, one of the people said. Li’s deal was first reported by the Hong Kong Economic Journal.
For the Mas, it’s unclear which entity they would use to buy their stakes. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and CK Hutchison representatives had no immediate comment. Tencent Holdings Ltd representative Jane Yip didn’t respond to requests for comment.