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Megvii lets Hong Kong IPO application lapse again

Chinese facial recognition software company, Beijing Kuangshi Technology Co. Ltd., known as Megvii, has let its Hong Kong listing application lapse again, missing the three-month window to renew it.

Megvii postponed its IPO in 2019 after its August application drew questions from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange's listing committee. It reportedly cleared the application at the start of 2020.

According to the Hong Kong stock exchange's website, Megvii's IPO status is still "lapsed." Due to the status, the company's application proof documents cannot be accessed because they have been categorized as "inactive." Under the exchange's rules, if an application does not have updated financials, it must be refiled from scratch.

Megvii's IPO application last lapsed Feb. 25, six months after it was filed in August 2019, according to an update on the Hong Kong stock exchange's website. The company postponed its submission of the latest financials as the new coronavirus slowed down the work of its auditor Deloitte, sources told Reuters.

Bankers and an equity analyst had told S&P Global Market Intelligence that Megvii could miss the May 25 deadline largely because the company did not get the Hong Kong exchange's approval in 2019, before the virus outbreak started to spread.

"Getting numbers in order is easy — that shouldn't take very long," a banker, who is not mandated on the transaction, had said. "The delays we have seen have everything to do with the [U.S.] 'entity list.'" U.S. companies are prohibited from trading with those on the entity list without permission from The White House. Beijing-based Megvii was placed on the list in October 2019.

The Chinese company is considering a listing on Shanghai Star Market, according to an April 22 South China Morning Post report.

A spokesperson from Megvii declined to comment on its Hong Kong IPO status or plans to look at the Star Market.