Honor, the Shenzhen-based smartphone manufacturer, has announced that it is preparing its initial public offering (IPO) to go public in China. In the same announcement, Honor also named Wu Hui as its new chairman.
Honor was established in 2013 as a sub-brand of Chinese smartphone giant Huawei. However, in the face of US sanctions against Huawei and its subsidiaries, Honor was spun off from Huawei in 2020, allowing the brand to continue to exist abroad. Currently, Honor is owned by Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology Co Ltd., a state-backed conglomerate of 30 Chinese companies.
Rumours have continuously spread about Honor’s possible public listing since 2022. Many of these point to Honor planning to go public via reverse takeover or backdoor listing, i.e. taking over a publicly listed company and using it as a shell for Honor’s own listing. However, the confirmation of the IPO route has now dispelled these rumours.
According to the South China Morning Post, prior to joining Honor last month, the new chairman Wu was a “a veteran state-owned enterprise executive” formerly of Shenzhen Water and Environment Group. Honor states that the appointment aims to help the company “adapt to the governance and regulatory needs of the new phase”, seemingly to mean as a publicly traded company.
With a market share of 19.3%, Honor claimed the top spot in the Chinese smartphone market in Q3 2023. However, there have not been further moves towards public listing from Honor since the announcements, therefore the exact date this planned IPO will take place still remains to be seen.