February 17, 2023
Hesai Group, the Chinese supplier of sensors for autonomous vehicles (AVs), has made a successful U.S. trading debut.
The Shanghai-based lidar developer rose nearly 11% on the Nasdaq after raising $190 million on its initial public offering (IPO).
Hesai sold 10 million American depositary shares for $19 each, after marketing 9 million for $17 to $19. This constituted the largest IPO by a Chinese issuer in the U.S. market since October 2021.
And it is being interpreted by some as another clear example of the growing importance of lidar as automated transportation services continue to be rolled out.
Hesai was founded in 2014 and has established itself as a global leader in lidar solutions. The light detection and ranging tech, which provides vehicles with high-resolution 3D vision, is becoming increasingly integral to the functionality of self-driving cars and is also being applied to the likes of last-mile delivery robots and logistics robots in restricted areas.
Some of the most ambitious names in the autonomous transport space have invested in Hesai, including Chinese internet giant Baidu – which has already announced plans to establish the world’s largest fully driverless ride-hailing service area in 2023 – smartphone maker Xiaomi, currently testing a fleet of self-driving vehicles across China, and German automotive parts company Bosch, which has significantly expanded its presence in the Chinese AV arena over the past year.
During 2022, Hesai was reported to be the number one global lidar provider by Frost & Sullivan. Total deliveries over the 12 months of the year exceeded 60,000 units – taking its tally to 100,000 since the company’s inception – and it was the first to ship more than 10,000 in a single month.
Among its customers are Baidu’s Apollo AV program, Beijing-based EV manufacturer Li Auto and Guangzhou’s WeRide, which has deployed self-driving robotaxis, robobuses, robovans and robosweepers across a multitude of cities in China.
Although Hesai provides solutions for companies in 40 countries and more than 90 cities worldwide, China has clearly dominated its operations so far and it’s understood that part of the appeal in pursuing a U.S. listing was to increase its profile globally.
Duane Kuang, of venture capital firm Qiming Venture Partners, one of Hesai’s major investors, said the listing presented a big opportunity for the company.
“We look forward to seeing more exciting technology and product innovations from Hesai to help promote the wider adoption of autonomous driving,” he said.
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