Shares of Appier Group Inc (沛星互動科技), which offers artificial intelligence (AI)-based software, yesterday rose above their listing price in the company’s trading debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, proceeding to raise ￥29.8 billion (US$271 million) in an initial public offering (IPO) priced at the top of its marketed range.
The Taiwanese company’s shares were priced at ￥1,600 apiece in the IPO and got a significant bounce at the open, rising as much as 37 percent in early trading before paring gains to close up 19 percent at ￥1,900.
Softbank Group Corp and ASEAN China Investment Fund III were among holders who offered shares, with Masayoshi Son’s firm holding about a 4.4 percent stake, company filings showed.
Photo: Billy H.C. Kwok, Bloomberg
While Tokyo has been attempting to attract more foreign companies amid a broader push to become a financial hub, such listings remain unusual.
Appier is the first firm from Taiwan to list in Tokyo since Trend Micro Inc’s (趨勢科技) debut in 1998, the Nikkei reported.
“Japanese investors have a high acceptance of the artificial intelligence theme and the market accounts for a large part of our revenue,” Appier cofounder and chief executive officer Yu Chih-han (游直翰) said in a news briefing, explaining why the firm chose Japan.
Appier’s debut comes amid a broader sell-off in technology shares as investors rotate out of loftily valued growth stocks into more economically sensitive sectors, such as banking.
Chinese tech names have especially slumped due to a combination of rising interest rates and increased regulatory scrutiny in the US and China.
The listing on the Mothers market follows the debut of Internet giant Baidu Inc (百度) in Hong Kong on Tuesday last week.
“Many software companies opt for the US market because software valuations tend to be higher there, but successful listings in other markets could begin to open up other opportunities for companies to consider,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Matthew Kanterman said.
Last week, Appier and shareholders sold 18.6 million shares, after marketing them at ￥1,400, ￥1,500 or ￥1,600 apiece.
Appier said that its AI-based software is used by customers, including Alphabet Inc, Toyota Motor Corp and Estee Lauder Co, to improve profitability.
The company said that it plans to use the proceeds of the share sale to support growth, including funding research and development.
The company had a net loss of ￥1.45 billion on sales of ￥8.97 billion last year.
The offering was led by SMBC Nikko Securities Inc, Bank of America Corp and Mizuho Securities Co.
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