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HONG KONG: China’s top ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing has mandated Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to lead its blockbuster IPO and plans to file confidentially for the New York float this month, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Didi, backed by Asian technology investment giants SoftBank, Alibaba and Tencent, is looking to list as soon as July, according to the people.

It is eyeing a valuation of at least $100 billion via the initial public offering (IPO), Reuters reported last month. At that valuation, Didi could raise about $10 billion if it sells 10% of its shares, making it the biggest Chinese IPO in the United States since Alibaba’s $25 billion float in 2014.

Beijing-based Didi’s selection of the two banks shows it is moving forward apace in its listing plans and that the US capital pool remains a big draw for Chinese companies despite heightened tensions between the world’s two-largest economies.

It also shows that for Wall Street titans, flotations of Chinese firms represent a growing business opportunity. Last year, Chinese companies raised $12 billion in US listings, more than triple the fundraising amount in 2019, according to Refinitiv data.

Confidential IPO filings enable companies to keep vital operational and financial information out of competitors’ hands for a few extra months.

Nine-year-old Didi was considering Hong Kong for its IPO last year as US-listed Chinese firms faced heightened scrutiny and more strict audit requirements from US regulators, while geopolitical tensions escalated between Beijing and Washington.

Didi later dropped that plan and has picked New York as the listing venue partly due to concerns that a Hong Kong IPO application could evoke more regulatory scrutiny over Didi’s business practices, including the use of unlicensed vehicles and part-time drivers, sources have told Reuters.

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