The Beijing-based bitcoin mining giant Bitmain is considering going public in the not too distant future. According to a report by Bloomberg, a 32-year-old Chinese billionaire Jihan Wu is reviewing the idea of an IPO for the world’s leading manufacturer of bitcoin mining chips.
Until now, little has been known about the company’s financial standing, but Wu is steadily lifting a shadow off the company and his personal wealth. Talking to Bloomberg, he told that Bitmain generated $2.5 billion in revenue last year and that he holds around 60% of the business together with co-founder Micree Zhan.
Wu, however, refused to unveil his net worth, but noted that his share is lower than that of Zhan. He also didn’t provide details of his net worth, personal bitcoin holdings, and other investments.
Earlier, he said that Bitmain is worth around $12 billion. Comparing it to other publicly traded chip manufacturers like MediaTek and Nvidia, Bloomberg estimates the company at nearly $8.8 billion. This makes the founders’ holdings worth about $5.3 billion.
Bitmain is clearly one of the most valuable companies today, producing the best and most powerful mining devices – Antminer application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) bitcoin miners. Besides dominating the crypto mining hardware market, the company also controls two largest mining pools – BTC.com and Antpool, both accounting for more than 40% of the globe’s bitcoin mining power.
Although Wu has no exact plans for an IPO yet, he is reviewing the possibility, as the company is planning to expand its business beyond cryptocurrency mining and focus on artificial intelligence (AI) market. Not only the AI business is a hedge against a decline in the digital currency market, but is also a sector that is actively supported by the Chinese government.
“The challenge is advancing our technology beyond what we’ve already achieved,” he noted.
Wu noted that an IPO most likely would be launched in Hong Kong or in other overseas markets with USD-denominated shares, as it would enable early investors like Sequoia Capital and IDG Capital to cash out.
One of the company’s key competitors, Canaan, has already filed for an IPO in Hong Kong, unveiling its plans to raise $2 billion during its listing that will be launched in July. The company’s last year’s revenue was twelve times lower than that of Bitmain. While Canaan holds around 15% of the bitcoin mining chip market, Bitmain occupies about 75% of the market. “Bitmain is trying very hard to maintain its advantage,” Wu said.