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Shares of China’s biggest chipmaker SMIC surge 245% in Shanghai debut

Integrated circuits on a circuit board. The semiconductor industry has been in focus during the U.S.-China trade war.

filonmar | E+ | Getty Images

SMIC, China’s biggest chipmaker, saw its shares surge 245% at the open on its first day of trade in Shanghai. 

The share sale is an important moment for the company but also China’s broader ambition to grow its domestic semiconductor industry, a push that has been accelerated by the trade war between the U.S. and China. 

SMIC issued 1,685,620,000 shares at 27.46 yuan per share, raising 46.28 billion yuan ($6.62 billion). 

That was more than double its initial target, amid a sharp rise in the price of its Hong Kong-listed shares as excitement built ahead of the Shanghai stock sale. 

The share sale is the biggest on the mainland in a decade since Agricultural Bank of China’s more than $22 billion dual Hong Kong-Shanghai listing in 2010, according to Dealogic data. 

Shares were trading at 95 yuan at the open, a 245% rise. SMIC Is part of China’s so-called Science and Technology Innovation Board, or STAR Board, a push by the world’s second-largest economy to create a Nasdaq-style environment for publicly-listed tech firms. Stocks debuting on the STAR Board are known for wild price movements on the first day of trade. 

SMIC is seen as a key player in China’s ambition to boost its domestic chip industry. The company is known as a contract chip manufacturer, meaning it makes the semiconductors designed by other firms. 

It is a direct rival to Taiwan’s TSMC and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics. But it’s technology is far behind its rivals. 

SMIC will likely use the money it has raised to invest in its technology to try to catch up to both these firms. 

Investors have been showing a lot of interest in SMIC ahead of the Shanghai listing. Its Hong Kong-listed shares are up over 200% this year. But those shares were around 6% lower in early trade on Tuesday. 

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