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January 7, 2021

Chinese Vape Leader RELX Will Launch on U.S. Stock Market

The parent company of RELX e-cigarettes has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to raise $100 million for an initial public offering (IPO) in the United States. RLX Technology is the leading brand sold in China, and is seeking to break into the U.S. market.

The company, which launched in 2018, has partnered with Citigroup for its IPO, and is aiming to raise $1 billion in share sales after the IPO, according to Bloomberg. RLX Technology will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol RLX. The company’s founder and CEO Kate Wang was previously the general manager of Uber China.

RELX is the leading producer of closed-system pod-based vapes sold in China, controlling more than 60 percent of retail market share in that growing market (China has more smokers than the U.S. has people). According to Renaissance Capital, its products are sold in over 100,000 retail stores in more than 250 Chinese cities. The company had $324 million in sales during the first nine months of 2019, with profits of $16 million.

The company will have to get PMTA approval from the FDA before it can compete in the U.S. convenience store/gas station market, which is currently dominated by Altria-backed Juul Labs and the British American Tobacco/RJ Reynolds-owned Vuse brand. Among the major c-store vaping brands, only pioneering vape company NJOY is not affiliated with the tobacco industry.

Our reviewers were very positive about both the RELX Classic and the newer RELX Infinity model, both of which use FEELM-designed pods. While not yet available in the U.S., RELX products are sold in many countries, including the U.K., Russia and Canada.

In July 2020, another Chinese vaping company, Smoore International Holdings Ltd., raised $900 million before their IPO and launch on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The stock nearly tripled in value immediately, and has since increased in value by more than 500 percent. Smoore is one of the oldest Chinese vape manufacturers.

Smokers created vaping without help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and I believe vapers have the right to continue innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I’m a member of the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy
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3 years ago

With the new Executive Order13959 to China how will that play?