Chinese chip designer founded by former Canaan execs seeks $50 million Nasdaq IPO

Quick Take

  • Chinese chip designer Nano Labs filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public on Nasdaq, seeking to raise $50 million.
  • The company was founded by to former executives at bitcoin mining hardware maker Canaan.

A Chinese designer of computing chips founded by former executives of bitcoin mining firm Canaan is seeking to go public in the United States.

Nano Labs filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday for an Initial Public Offer on Nasdaq. The company wants to raise a total of $50 million, according to the South China Morning Post.

Co-founders Kong Jianping and Sun Qifeng were formerly co-chairman and non-executive director of Canaan, respectively, but were removed by the Bitcoin mining hardware manufacturer in 2020 amid reports of internal disputes. The two own 32.8% and 22.3% of the Nano Labs, respectively.

"It is my intention that Nano Labs will be committed to developing the power of the Metaverse and walking among the key players to help the world explore and cognize the Metaverse," Jianping said in the SEC filing. "I am earnestly confident that the Metaverse will open a new era for humankind."

Nano Labs produces integrated circuits  — more specifically, high throughput computing (HTC) chips. "Our mission is to provide ubiquitous computing power to the Metaverse computing network with our fabless logic-memory integrated circuits," the company stated.

Fabless refers to chip designers that outsource the fabrication process to third-party companies. Per Nano Labs, the global fabless integrated circuit design market jumped from $101.5 billion in 2017 to $169.0 billion in 2021 in terms of sales revenue.

According to the South China Morning Post, only two other Chinese-based companies have been listed in New York this year, as regulatory risks in China and the US have prevented other Chinese issuers from fundraising overseas.

Although Nano Labs produces parts used for mining Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the company indicated that increased regulation from the government, which last year cracked down on mining, limited its ability to operate in China.  

The company also said that was exposed in China to "legal and operational risks," for instance ones associated with regulatory approvals of offshore offerings and anti-monopoly regulatory actions, among others.

"These China-related risks could result in a material change in our operations and/or the value of our securities, or could significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer securities," the filing said.

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