A BESTORE outlet is seen at a shopping mall in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province. (CHU LIN / CHINA DAILY)
SHANGHAI - Listing ceremonies usually feature cheers and applause, but the ongoing novel coronavirus epidemic has prompted the Shanghai bourse to shun gatherings and introduce a new rite of passage for companies -- instead of striking a gong at the exchange, the C-suite now participate in online livestreamed debuts.
We never thought we would become the first firm to go public with a remote video ceremony.
Yang Hongchun, BESTORE's founder & chairman
Wuhan-based snack giant BESTORE on Monday became the first company to go public at the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) with an online ceremony, which lasted for some 20 minutes and featured video speeches and a five-second countdown to a simulated gong-striking as the climax.
"We never thought we would become the first firm to go public with a remote video ceremony," said BESTORE's founder and chairman Yang Hongchun in his speech broadcast live on the SSE website.
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Before going into the company's market success and strategies, Yang saluted those risking their lives to support Hubei in fighting the epidemic and the resilient and vigorous corporate sector in China.
"They are the most admirable heroes in harms' way of our time," he said.
The food company generates 55 percent of its revenue from its 2,000 brick-and-mortar stores, 40 percent of which are in the central province of Hubei, the worst-hit region in the coronavirus epidemic. Its online businesses have gained momentum to fuel new growth amid fierce competition in China's multi-trillion-yuan snack market.
BESTORE raised about US$69m by offering 41 million shares to fund its expansion
Yang also visited the brand's livestreaming channel on e-commerce platform Taobao, a major source of the company's revenue.
"Thank you all! We are now a listed company! BESTORE be strong! Wuhan be strong! China be strong!" he told the online audience.
With Monday's debut, BESTORE raised about 487 million yuan (about US$69 million) by offering 41 million shares to fund its expansion including the development of an all-channel marketing network and storage and logistics system. With listing fees deducted, the company collected about 420 million yuan in net capital.
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BESTORE saw its market capitalization reach 6.87 billion yuan with shares skyrocketing 44.03 percent in Monday's morning trading session.
Organizing online listing ceremonies is part of SSE's efforts to strike a balance between disease control and services. The exchange has pledged reduction or exemption of listing fees and one-to-one remote services to companies.
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