Tech Industry

China.com to split stock, preps honkong.com IPO

Internet company China.com Corp. (Nasdaq: CHINA) said Monday it would split its stock 2-for-1 and has appointed a new CEO for hongkong.com Corp., which will make its IPO this Thursday.

China.com shares were up 5 5/8 to 152 1/2 Monday. The stock has been going strong since its IPO last summer. The recent debuts of AsiaInfo (Nasdaq: ASIA) and UTStarcom (Nasdaq: UTSI) , two Internet infrastructure companies, have also cashed in on the hot growth prospects for China.

China.com said its board of directors has approved a 2-for-1 stock split, to be held on April 28th, 2000.

Former Time Inc Asia Managing Director Rudy Chan will become chief executive officer of hongkong.com, the company's Hong Kong-focused Internet portal arm, which is about to make its public debut, the company announced separately.

Chan joined China.com in December 1999 as director of e-commerce to develop and expand the company's e-commerce capabilities for its greater China portals, china.com, cww.com, hongkong.com and taiwan.com.

Hongkong.com attracted 3 million page views per day as of end-February, up 33 percent and 76 percent respectively from the end of 1999, the company said. It posted a net loss of HK$18.01 million for the year ended December 31, 1999, and revenue was HK$28.44 million, of which about 50 percent came from advertising revenues and the rest from the provision of content.

Hongkong.com said it will offer 640 million placing shares in an initial public offering in Hong Kong at between HK$1.60 and HK$1.88 per share.

The company said it would use about HK$495 million of its proceeds from the IPO for marketing and advertising in Hong Kong and overseas. About HK$236 million of the proceeds will go to marketing and advertising in Hong Kong, with HK$259 million spent on the area outside its territory.

Hongkong.com would also use HK$195 million for future acquisitions of Internet-related companies and investments in them. The balance would be used to purchase software applications, expand network infrastructure, repay all loans extended by China.com and as working capital.

BNP Prime Peregrine Securities Ltd. and Lehman Brothers Securities Asia Ltd. are the joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners of the IPO, expected to begin trading March 9.

Reuters contributed to this report.