Baidu Inc. (BIDU:US)’s billionaire founder Robin Li said Chinese Internet companies may struggle to complete initial public offerings in the U.S. in the short term after the performance of Facebook Inc. (FB:US)’s listing last month.
“It will be very difficult for the public market to rebound in the short term,” Baidu Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Li told a conference of business partners yesterday. The recent IPOs of U.S. Internet companies including Facebook “didn’t do well,” Li said in the speech, according to a transcript posted on Baidu’s website.
Facebook has declined more than 25 percent in New York since its trading debut on May 18, after the world’s biggest social-networking company raised $16 billion in the largest technology IPO on record. Li, who oversaw a more than 40-fold increase in Baidu’s stock since the Beijing-based company’s U.S. listing in 2005, said Chinese Internet startups can still obtain capital from private equity investors.
“The Chinese Internet industry is still very vibrant,” Li said. Individual companies are still getting funding from private equity and venture capital firms, he said in his speech, made at the “Baidu Union” conference held in the central Chinese city of Zhangjiajie.
Baidu, China’s biggest search-engine company, fell 3.5 percent to $113.63 at 1:48 p.m. in New York. It is the largest U.S.-listed Chinese Internet operator, with a market capitalization of $39.7 billion, more than double the value of Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO:US), the most-visited U.S. Web portal.
Baidu will work on developing its cloud-computing (BIDU:US) technology to offer services for users of smartphones and other mobile devices, Li said.
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