* People.cn launches Shanghai IPO, to raise 527 mln yuan
* To announce final IPO price on April 20
* People.cn one of the first state-controlled media to list
SHANGHAI, April 5 (Reuters) - The online news portal of the Chinese government mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, has launched an initial public offering in Shanghai that aims to raise about 527 million yuan ($83.6 million).
The IPO is aimed at helping it compete better against new media giants Sina Corp and Sohu.com Inc.
People.cn Co Ltd, one of the first state-controlled media to list, will sell 69.1 million shares, set the IPO price range on April 17 and announce the final pricing on April 20, the firm said in its prospectus posted on the Shanghai stock exchange website late on Wednesday.
People.cn, which is owned by the People’s Daily, a Communist Party broadsheet for more than 60 years, is listing at a time when Beijing is encouraging state-owned media to go public in a bid to increase their clout in the Internet era.
Xinhuanet, the Internet portal of state news agency Xinhua, is also set to raise 1 billion yuan in Shanghai soon, sources told Reuters last December.
People.cn will use the IPO proceeds to upgrade technology, deliver news on mobile platforms and strengthen its editorial team.
China is the world’s biggest Internet market by users. The news portals of Sina and Sohu, though censored, have a huge following online due to their offering of a large variety of news topics and more sensational presentation of news.
People.cn is looking to compete with those portals for readers and advertising dollars.
People.cn counts state-owned telecommunications giants including China Mobile Ltd, China Unicom and China Telecom Corp Ltd as shareholders.