China's state-run news site People's Daily has launched an initial public offering in Shanghai.
The company is aiming to raise funds of about 527 million yuan ($83.6 million). These funds will be used to upgrade technology, expand mobile coverage and develop its editorial team.
The company plans to sell 69.1 million shares through the IPO, according to Reuters, and it will set the IPO price range on the 17th of this month. Final prices will be announced on April 20th.
The restructuring of People's Daily comes as China's state-owned news sources are attempting improve their chances against competitors. The online portal, www.people.com.cn, has attracted a lot of readers online since it launched 10 years ago. Unfortunately it still struggles to keep up with other competing news sources like Sinaor Sohu.com.
With so many other, more popular online news sources, it seems to be becoming clear that state owned websites need to expand in order to maintain a level of dominance over the media.
People's Daily is well known for being a government mouthpiece, providing an outlet for authorities to release propaganda. The company received approval from authorities at the end of last month, but rumours of an IPO have been circulating since January.
Caijing reports that People's Daily may begin seeking investors as early as the 6th of April, following the conclusion of this year's Tomb Sweeping Festival.
Fellow Chinese news agency, Xinhua, was expected to launch a 1 billion yuan ($157.8 million) IPO at some point after reports emerged last December. Although no official timing has been given yet, after People's Daily it is expected that Xinhua will follow suit before the end of the year.
People's Daily has several high profile shareholders, including state-owned telecommunication companies China Mobile Ltd, China Unicom and China Telecom Corp Ltd.