Chinese travel booking service Qunar went public on the NASDAQ today and its shares nearly doubled during the first day of trading.
Qunar raised $167 million in the initial public offering. Shares started out at $15 a piece and surged to as high as $34.99 over the course of the day.
Qunar, which means “where to go” in Chinese, is owned and controlled by Baidu, China’s search engine giant. Baidu bought a majority stake in Qunar in 2011 and holds 55 percent of the company.
Qunar raked in $58.5 million in sales during the first six months of 2013 and reported a net loss of $2.8 million. It currently has 203 million Web users and nearly 40 million mobile users. Its mobile apps have been downloaded more than 100 million times.
This underscores a revived and growing interest in Chinese companies, as they return to the U.S. IPO market. Reuters said that the number of Chinese companies listing in the U.S. plunged from a high of 40 in 2010 to just two in 2012, after “a rash of accounting scandals and ensuing share sell-of that led to a wave of delistings.”
It is the second U.S. IPO by a Chinese company this week to price above its marketed range — 58.com raised $187 million in its IPO yesterday. Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba is expected to raise $18 billion to $25 billion in a January or February IPO.
GGV Capital, Hillhouse Capital and Baidu invested $57 million in Qunar in April 2013. Previous investors include GSR Ventures, Mayfield, and Tenaya Capital.
Goldman Sachs Group, Deutsche Bank AG, and Stifel Finanial Corp managed the offering. Analysts have said that part of the reason Chinese companies are making such a comeback is because they are being underwritten by big names, like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
Furthermore China’s e-commerce market is thriving. Morgan Stanley estimates that China’s mobile internet market will to triple to around $30 billion by 2015, and mobile adoption is driving e-commerce sales.
Qunar is valued at around $1 billion dollars.