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Display Maker Royole Said to Mull China IPO as U.S. Plans Stall

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Julia Fioretti and Lulu Yilun Chen
·2-min read
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(Bloomberg) -- Chinese flexible display maker Royole Corp. is weighing an initial public offering in China while its planned U.S. listing is put on hold, according to people familiar with the matter.

Royole had filed confidentially for a U.S. IPO that could raise about $1 billion, Bloomberg News reported earlier this year. However, the startup is now considering a listing in China, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

Considerations are at an early stage and no final decisions have been made, the people said. A representative for Royole declined to comment on the matter.

Royole, known for manufacturing the world’s first commercial foldable phone, had originally planned to raise funds via a private financing round at a valuation of about $8 billion, people familiar with that deal said last year. But the Chinese company turned to the U.S. markets after liquidity tightened during a downturn in China’s venture capital sector, the people said.

Since January relations between the U.S. and China have deteriorated sharply, with tensions spanning trade, technology and Hong Kong. Many U.S.-listed Chinese companies are considering second listings closer to home in Hong Kong, while China has been actively seeking to lure innovative technology companies to list in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Royole competes with Samsung Electronics Co. and BOE Technology Group Co. to produce bendable screens using cutting-edge organic light-emitting diode technology. The company, which gave away wraparound-screen hats at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, in January unveiled a smart speaker that packs a bendable display around a cylinder.

Its full line of products encompasses head-mounted displays intended for use as so-called mobile theaters and other wearable flexible displays. The company even has a smart writing pad that it sells on Amazon.com, JD.com and in stores globally.

Royole’s earlier investors include Knight Capital, IDG Capital, Poly Capital Management, AMTD Group, the funds of Chinese tycoon Xie Zhikun and the venture capital arm of the Shenzhen city government.

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