Xiaomi’s first week of trading in Hong Kong has been affected for better and for worse by the swings of Chinese markets regulators.
When the company’s stock debuted July 9 on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, it received a lukewarm response—its price dipped as much as 6% before closing at HK$16.80 (US$2.14), up 1.2% from its open. That still left it below its offer price of HK$17. The debut gave it a market cap of around $50 billion. Observers chalked up the weak performance to uncertainty about Xiaomi’s unusual business model.
The following day though, the Hang Seng Indexes Company announced that it would add Xiaomi to the Hang Seng Composite Index (HSCI), effective next Monday (July 23). This would in theory enable shares of the smartphone company to be traded by mainland Chinese investors via Stock Connect, a program that links exchanges in Hong Kong with those in Shanghai and Shenzhen. Upon the news, shares of Xiaomi closed at HK$19, and by the end of the week they hit HK$21.45, marking a 26% increase from the stock’s initial offer price. It also edged its way into Hong Kong’s top-10 most-valuable listed companies.
The euphoria hasn’t lasted however. Over the weekend, the Shanghai Stock Exchange issued a statement announcing mainland Chinese investors will be forbidden from buying shares of companies with weighted voting rights listed in Hong Kong. Xiaomi marks the first such company to list in the city with a weighted voting structure—shares owned by co-founders Lin Bin and Lei Jun each have 10 times the votes of the company’s other shares.
That news caused Xiaomi’s share price to sink as much as 7% upon opening on Monday (July 16), according to FactSet.
That’s too bad for Xiaomi. While the eight-year-old company has seen some success selling phones in India and Europe, most of the company’s revenue comes from within mainland China—and that’s likely where its most enthusiastic investors reside. They were already foiled from being able to invest in Xiaomi after the company postponed a mainland offering via a new mechanism in the face of a flurry of questions from regulators over its business model.
Beyond short-term fluctuations, though, the true test for Xiaomi’s stock performance remains whether or not it can deliver on its ambitions to become a internet company. It currently makes most of its revenue from smartphone sales, but hopes to get more and more profit from ads and media—something no other hardware company has successfully pulled off. Xiaomi has also branched into selling a wide-range of non-tech products, making the “Apple of China,” as the company’s often called, look less like Apple, and a lot more like Japanese retailer Muji.