Chinese vaping firm RLX valued at nearly $35 billion in U.S. market debut

RELX vaping products by RLX Technology Inc are seen displayed at a store inside a shopping mall in Beijing, China January 22, 2021. REUTERS/Florence Lo

(Reuters) – American depositary shares of RLX Technology Inc jumped 86% in their U.S. stock market debut on Friday, giving the Chinese vaping firm a market capitalization of nearly $35 billion.

RLX’s shares opened at $22.34, well above their initial public offering (IPO) price of $12 per share. Shares were up 58% in early trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Beijing-based company offered 116.5 million shares in its IPO, raising $1.4 billion, after having earlier targeted a price range of $8 to $10 per share.

RLX’s debut comes at a time of heightened scrutiny of Chinese listings from the U.S. government. Former U.S. President Donald Trump signed legislation last month to delist Chinese companies that do not adhere to American auditing standards.

Chinese firms in 2020 raised $13.5 billion in IPOs in the United States, up from $3.5 billion in the previous year.

Founded in 2018, the company sells vaping products under the RELX brand name and is headed by Kate Wang, the former head of Uber Technologies Inc’s China operations.

RLX posted a net income of 108.6 million yuan ($16.76 million) on net revenue of 2.2 billion yuan ($339.45 million) for the nine months ended Sep. 30, 2020, according to a filing.

($1 = 6.4810 Chinese yuan renminbi)

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