As confidentially submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 10, 2020

Registration No. 333-              

 

 

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

 

FORM F-1

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

Under

The Securities Act of 1933

 

 

 

Ebang International Holdings Inc.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

 

Cayman Islands   3674   Not Applicable
(State or other jurisdiction of   (Primary Standard Industrial   (I.R.S. Employer
incorporation or organization)   Classification Code Number)   Identification Number)

 

26-27/F, Building 3, Xinbei Qianjiang International Building
Qianjiang Economic and Technological Development Zone
Yuhang District, Hangzhou, Zhejiang
People’s Republic of China

+86 571-8817-6197 

(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of Registrant’s principal executive offices)

 

 

 

(Name, address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of agent for service)

 

 

 

Copies to:

Weiheng Chen, Esq.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Suite 1509, 15/F, Jardine House

1 Connaught Place, Central

Hong Kong

+852 3972-4955

 

Dan Ouyang, Esq.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Professional Corporation

Unit 2901, 29F, Tower C, Beijing Yintai Centre

No. 2 Jianguomenwai Avenue,

Chaoyang District, Beijing 100022

The People’s Republic of China

+86 10-6529-8300

 

David Zhang, Esq.

Benjamin W. James, Esq.

Amanda Mi Tang, Esq.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP

c/o 26/F, Gloucester Tower, The Landmark

15 Queen’s Road Central

Hong Kong

+852 3761-3300

 

 

 

Approximate date of commencement of proposed sale to the public:

As soon as practicable after the effective date of this registration statement.

 

If any of the securities being registered on this Form are to be offered on a delayed or continuous basis pursuant to Rule 415 under the Securities Act of 1933, or the Securities Act, check the following box. ☐

 

If this Form is filed to register additional securities for an offering pursuant to Rule 462(b) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering. ☐

 

If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(c) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering. ☐

 

If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(d) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering. ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is an emerging growth company as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act of 1933. Emerging growth company

 

If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CALCULATION OF REGISTRATION FEE

 

Title of each class of securities to be registered  Proposed
maximum
aggregate
offering price(3)
   Amount of
registration fee
 
Class A ordinary shares, par value HK$0.001 per share(1)(2)  US$                       US$                  

 

 

(1) American depositary shares, or ADSs, evidenced by American depositary receipts issuable upon deposit of the Class A ordinary shares registered hereby will be registered under a separate registration statement on Form F-6 (Registration No. 333-                   ). Each ADS represents                   Class A ordinary shares.

(2) Includes (a) Class A ordinary shares represented by ADSs that may be purchased by the underwriters pursuant to their option to purchase additional ADSs and (b) all Class A ordinary shares represented by ADSs initially offered or sold outside the United States that are thereafter resold from time to time in the United States either as part of their distribution or within 40 days after the later of the effective date of this registration statement and the date the shares are first bona fide offered to the public. Offers and sales of shares outside the United States are being made pursuant to Regulation S under the Securities Act and are not covered by this registration statement.

(3)Estimated solely for the purpose of calculating the registration fee in accordance with Rule 457(o) under the Securities Act.

 

 

 

The Registrant hereby amends this registration statement on such date or dates as may be necessary to delay its effective date until the Registrant shall file a further amendment which specifically states that this registration statement shall thereafter become effective in accordance with Section 8(a) of the Securities Act, as amended, or until the registration statement shall become effective on such date as the Securities and Exchange Commission, acting pursuant to said Section 8(a) may determine.

 

 

The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

The information in this preliminary prospectus is not complete and may be changed. These securities may not be sold until the registration statement filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This preliminary prospectus is not an offer to sell nor does it seek an offer to buy these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted.

 

Subject to Completion

 

Prospectus dated                             , 2020

 

                            American Depositary Shares

 

 

 

 

Ebang International Holdings Inc.

 

Representing                                         Class A Ordinary Shares

 

 

 

This is an initial public offering of American depositary shares, or ADSs, representing Class A ordinary shares of Ebang International Holdings Inc. We are offering                 ADSs, each representing                 of our Class A ordinary share(s), par value HK$0.001 per share. We currently anticipate the initial public offering price per ADS will be between US$               and US$              .

 

Prior to this offering, there has been no public market for the ADSs or our shares. We intend to apply to list the ADSs on the [New York Stock Exchange/Nasdaq Global Market] under the symbol “                       .”

 

We are an “emerging growth company” as defined under applicable U.S. securities laws and are eligible for reduced public company reporting requirements.

 

Immediately prior to the completion of this offering, our outstanding share capital will consist of Class A ordinary shares and Class B ordinary shares. Holders of Class A ordinary shares and Class B ordinary shares have the same rights except for voting and conversion rights. Each Class A ordinary share will be entitled to one vote, and each Class B ordinary share will be entitled to [20] votes. Each Class B ordinary share will be convertible into one Class A ordinary share. Class A ordinary shares will not be convertible into Class B ordinary shares under any circumstances.

 

Additionally, upon the completion of this offering, we will be a “controlled company” as defined under corporate governance rules of [New York Stock Exchange]/[Nasdaq Global Market], because our existing controlling shareholder Mr. Dong Hu will beneficially own                  % of our then-issued and outstanding Class B ordinary shares and will be able to exercise           % of the total voting power of our issued and outstanding ordinary shares immediately after the consummation of this offering, assuming the underwriter does not exercise its option to purchase additional ADSs. For further information, see “Principal Shareholders.”

 

See “Risk Factors” beginning on page 12 to read about factors you should consider before buying the ADSs.

 

PRICE US$        PER ADS

 

   Per ADS   Total 
Initial public offering price  US$         US$  
Underwriting discounts and commissions(1)  US$         US$  
Proceeds, before expenses, to us  US$       US$         

 

 

(1)For a description of compensation payable to the underwriters, see “Underwriting.”

 

We have granted the underwriters the right to purchase from us up to                       additional ADSs within 30 days from the date of this prospectus at the initial public offering price less the underwriting discounts and commissions.

 

Neither the United States Securities and Exchange Commission nor any other regulatory body has approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the accuracy or adequacy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

 

The underwriters expect to deliver the ADSs against payment in U.S. dollars in New York, New York on or about                               , 2020.

 

 

 

 

AMTD                               Loop Capital Markets

 

PROSPECTUS DATED                             , 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

  Page
PROSPECTUS SUMMARY 1
RISK FACTORS 12
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS 58
USE OF PROCEEDS 60
DIVIDEND POLICY 61
CAPITALIZATION 62
DILUTION 63
ENFORCEABILITY OF CIVIL LIABILITIES 65
CORPORATE HISTORY AND STRUCTURE 67
SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL AND OPERATING DATA 69
MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS 72
INDUSTRY OVERVIEW 97
BUSINESS 106
REGULATION 122
MANAGEMENT 136
PRINCIPAL SHAREHOLDERS 142
RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS 144
DESCRIPTION OF SHARE CAPITAL 145
DESCRIPTION OF AMERICAN DEPOSITARY SHARES 159
SHARES ELIGIBLE FOR FUTURE SALE 173
TAXATION 175
UNDERWRITING 184
EXPENSES RELATING TO THIS OFFERING 195
LEGAL MATTERS 196
EXPERTS 197
WHERE YOU CAN FIND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 198
INDEX TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS F-1

 

You should rely only on the information contained in this prospectus or in any related free writing prospectus that we have filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC. We have not authorized anyone to provide you with information different from that contained in this prospectus or in any related free-writing prospectus. We are offering to sell, and seeking offers to buy the ADSs offered hereby, but only under circumstances and in jurisdictions where offers and sales are permitted and lawful to do so. The information contained in this prospectus is current only as of its date, regardless of the time of delivery of this prospectus or of any sale of the ADSs.

 

Neither we nor the underwriters have done anything that would permit this offering or possession or distribution of this prospectus or any filed free writing prospectus in any jurisdiction where other action for that purpose is required, other than in the United States. Persons outside the United States who come into possession of this prospectus or any filed free writing prospectus must inform themselves about, and observe any restrictions relating to, the offering of the ADSs and the distribution of this prospectus or any filed free writing prospectus outside the United States.

 

Until                  , 2020 (the 25th day after the date of this prospectus), all dealers that buy, sell or trade ADSs, whether or not participating in this offering, may be required to deliver a prospectus. This is in addition to the dealers’ obligation to deliver a prospectus when acting as underwriters and with respect to their unsold allotments or subscriptions.

 

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PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

 

The following summary is qualified in its entirety by, and should be read in conjunction with, the more detailed information and financial statements appearing elsewhere in this prospectus. In addition to this summary, we urge you to read the entire prospectus carefully, especially the risks of investing in the ADSs discussed under “Risk Factors,” before deciding whether to invest in the ADSs. This prospectus contains information from an industry report which we commissioned from Frost & Sullivan, an independent research firm, to prepare. We refer to this report as the F&S report.

 

Our Mission

 

Our mission is to apply technological innovation to become a globally prominent blockchain company.

 

Overview

 

We are a leading application-specific integrated circuit, or ASIC, chip design company and a leading manufacturer of high performance Bitcoin mining machines, according to the F&S report. We have strong ASIC chip design capability underpinned by nearly a decade of industry experience and expertise in the telecommunications business. We are one of the few fabless integrated circuit, or IC, design companies with the advanced technology to independently design ASIC chips, established access to third-party wafer foundry capacity and a proven in-house capability to produce blockchain and telecommunications products, according to the F&S report. We have dedicated our technology and efforts to ASIC applications for Bitcoin mining machines and were a leading Bitcoin mining machine producer in the global market in terms of computing power sold in 2019, according to the F&S report.

 

We are a pioneer in researching and developing ASIC chip technology used in blockchain applications in China. We are also one of the earliest contract manufacturers of Bitcoin mining machines in China to own self-developed proprietary ASIC chips, according to the F&S report. Our Ebit E10 model, launched in December 2017, was the first commercially available mining machine to use 10 nm ASIC chips among major mining machine producers, according to the F&S report. Our latest commercialized Ebit E12 series mining machines, which incorporate the most recent iteration of our proprietary 10 nm ASIC chips, are capable of a hash rate of up to 50 TH/s and achieves a computing power efficiency of 57W/TH. We have completed the design of our 8 nm ASIC chips and 7 nm ASIC chips and are ready to mass-produce our proprietary 8 nm ASIC chips when the market conditions become suitable. We currently focus on developing our proprietary 5 nm ASIC chips and mining machines for non-Bitcoin cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin and Monero. We will continue to devote significant resources to new technological innovations in blockchain technology.

 

Leveraging our deep understanding of the cryptocurrency industry and strong blockchain technology as applied to ASIC chip design, we strive to expand into the upstream and downstream markets of the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry value chain to diversify our offerings and achieve a more stable financial performance. We intend to start with the cryptocurrency mining and farming business and explore applying blockchain technology into non-cryptocurrency industries, such as the financial services and healthcare industries. We believe our extensive experience in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry positions us well in our future endeavors.

 

Our revenues were US$319.0 million and US$109.1 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively. We had gross profit of US$24.4 million in 2018 and gross loss of US$30.6 million in 2019. We had net losses of US$11.8 million and US$41.1 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

 

 

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Market Trends

 

Market interest in developing blockchain technology has been growing in recent years. As of December 31, 2019, there were 5,035 cryptocurrencies in circulation with a total aggregate market capitalization of approximately US$193.4 billion, which represented a 48.5% increase from approximately US$130.2 billion as of December 31, 2018. The largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, accounted for approximately 68.2% of the market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies, or approximately US$131.9 billion as of December 31, 2019.

 

In recent years, sales of Bitcoin mining machines have increased as a result of the increasing adoption of blockchain technology and interest in cryptocurrencies, particularly when cryptocurrency prices increased. Sales of Bitcoin computing hardware, the majority of which comprise sales of Bitcoin mining machines, have surged at a CAGR of 61.3% from approximately US$0.2 billion in 2015 to approximately US$1.4 billion in 2019 and are expected to further increase at a CAGR of 24.8% to approximately US$4.3 billion in 2024, according to the F&S report.

 

ASIC chip designers are major participants in the Bitcoin mining machine industry. An ASIC chip will generally excel at processing the targeted application but has little flexibility to process other types of transactions. Because it is narrowly tailored to a specific function, it requires less time and cost compared to developing a customized IC chip with both targeted and general applications. Several entry barriers exist for ASIC chip designers, including design expertise, long development time, ability to source high quality wafers, and high fixed cost.

 

Market demands and unit price of Bitcoin mining machines correlate with the economic returns of Bitcoin mining machines and are primarily affected by the Bitcoin price. A rise in the Bitcoin price will generally increase the market demand for Bitcoin mining machines, which in turn allow us to price our products higher, and vice versa. The price of Bitcoin experienced a significant drop in 2018, remained relatively low through the end of the first quarter of 2019, and experienced modest recovery starting from the second quarter of 2019. The price of Bitcoin tends to have a direct impact on the market demand for our Bitcoin mining machines, in terms of both the price and the quantity, and we expect this trend to continue. Furthermore, the significant drop in the Bitcoin price is expected to have a negative effect on the value of our Bitcoin mining machine inventory and thus increase credit sales. We expect our results of operations to improve along with, but lag behind, the recovery of the Bitcoin price, and vice versa. The recent market panics over the global outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) have adversely affected the Bitcoin price and caused a drastic drop in the Bitcoin price in March 2020, which may continue in the near term and adversely affect our business of operations and financial condition.

 

Our Strengths

 

We believe that the following strengths contribute to our success and differentiate us from our competitors:

 

market pioneer with strong and proven capabilities in ASIC design capability;

 

world’s leading Bitcoin mining machine producer with a strong market position globally and steady access to wafer foundry capacity;

 

outstanding technical expertise and production experience offering high-quality products; and

 

tech-savvy and seasoned senior management team.

 

Our Strategies

 

We intend to grow our business using the following key strategies:

 

strengthen our leadership position and increase our investment in ASIC chip and blockchain technology;

 

continue to develop and offer cutting-edge cryptocurrency mining machines;

 

expand into new business opportunities in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry to diversify our offerings;

 

expand our production capacity; and

 

further strengthen our brand image and recognition and expand our overseas customer base.

 

Our Challenges

 

Our ability to achieve our mission is subject to risks and uncertainties, including:

 

significant impact from the fluctuation of Bitcoin price, and in particular, significant negative impact from sharp Bitcoin price decrease;

 

 

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the concentration of our revenues in Bitcoin mining machines;

 

our ability to generate positive cash flows from operating activities and achieve or sustain profitability;

 

our ability to obtain sufficient capital to support our operations in a timely manner and on favorable terms;

 

our limited operating history and our volatile historical results of operations;

 

  the recent global coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak;

  

our dependency on the development of blockchain technology and applications, particularly in the field of Bitcoin, and our ability to maintain the performance of our Bitcoin mining machines;

 

our current and future involvement in disputes, claims or proceedings arising from our operations from time to time;

 

our exposure to credit risks in relation to defaults from counterparties;

 

current regulatory environment and adverse changes in the regulatory environment in the PRC market and foreign markets; and

 

our ability to maintain appropriate inventory levels in line with the approximate level of demand for our products.

 

Corporate History and Structure

 

In January 2010, Mr. Dong Hu, our chairman of board of directors and chief executive officer, founded Zhejiang Ebang Communication Technology Co., Ltd., or Zhejiang Ebang, which established Zhejiang Ebang Information Technology Co., Ltd., or Ebang IT, to conduct development and sales of communications network access devices and related equipment. In early 2014, in view of the burgeoning opportunities in the blockchain industry, we began to conduct research and feasibility studies on the blockchain business and develop blockchain computing equipment. In August 2015, Zhejiang Ebang was listed on the National Equities Exchange and Quotations Co., Ltd., or the NEEQ. In August 2016, we acquired 51.05% of the equity interest in Hangzhou Dewang Information Technology Co., Ltd., or Hangzhou Dewang, through our capital injection in Hangzhou Dewang. In March 2018, Zhejiang Ebang was delisted from the NEEQ in preparation for the reorganization.

 

On May 17, 2018, we incorporated Ebang International Holdings Inc., our holding company, as an exempted company with limited liability in the Cayman Islands. In 2018, we underwent a series of corporate reorganization for our initial public offering, including incorporation of our company as the listing vehicle, incorporation of our oversea holding companies and issuance of shares to shareholders of Ebang Hongfa to reflect their respective shareholdings before the reorganization. We completed the reorganization in May 2018.

 

 

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The chart below summarizes our corporate structure and identifies the principal subsidiaries as of the date of this prospectus:

 

 

 

(1)The remaining 48.95% equity interest is owned by Huzhou Meiman Investment Management LLP, an unaffiliated third party.
(2)The remaining 0.0036% equity interest is owned by an unaffiliated individual.

 

Implications of Being an Emerging Growth Company

 

As a company with less than US$1.07 billion in revenue during our last fiscal year, we qualify as an “emerging growth company” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, as amended, or the JOBS Act. As long as we remain an emerging growth company, we may rely on exemptions from some of the reporting requirements applicable to public companies that are not emerging growth companies. These exemptions include: (1) being permitted to provide only two years of selected financial data (rather than five years) and only two years of audited financial statements (rather than three years), in addition to any required unaudited interim financial statements, with correspondingly reduced “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” disclosure; (2) not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 in the assessment of our internal control over financial reporting; and (3) not being required to comply with any new or revised financial accounting standards until such date that a private company is otherwise required to comply with such new or revised accounting standards. We have taken, and may continue to take, advantage of some of these exemptions until we are no longer an emerging growth company. As a result, we will not be required to comply with new or revised accounting standards when they are adopted for public companies until a private company is otherwise required to comply with such new or revised accounting standards.

 

We will remain an emerging growth company until the earliest of: (1) the last day of our fiscal year during which we have total annual gross revenues of at least US$1.07 billion; (2) the last day of our fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of the completion of this offering; (3) the date on which we have, during the previous three-year period, issued more than US$1.00 billion in non-convertible debt; or (4) the date on which we become a “large accelerated filer” under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, which would occur if we have been a public company for at least 12 months and the market value of the ADSs held by non-affiliates exceeds US$700 million as of the last business day of our most recently completed second fiscal quarter. We will not be entitled to the above exemptions if we cease to be an emerging growth company.

 

 

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Corporate Information

 

Our principal executive offices are located at 26-27/F, Building 3, Xinbei Qianjiang International Building, Qianjiang Economic and Technological Development Zone, Yuhang District, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Our telephone number at this address is +86 571-8817-6197. Our registered office in the Cayman Islands is located at Cricket Square, Hutchins Drive, P.O. Box 2681, Grand Cayman KY1-1111.

 

Investors should submit any inquiries to the address and telephone number of our principal executive offices. Our corporate website is http://www.ebang.com.cn. The information contained on our websites is not a part of this prospectus. Our agent for service of process in the United States is located at               .

 

Conventions that Apply to this Prospectus

 

Unless we indicate otherwise, references in this prospectus to:

 

“ADRs” are to the American depositary receipts, which, if issued, evidence the ADSs;

 

“ADSs” are to our American depositary shares, each of which represents                  Class A ordinary shares;

 

“AI” are to artificial intelligence;

 

“ASICs” are to application-specific ICs, meaning ICs designed for a specific application;

 

“Bitcoin” and “Bitcoins” are to the first cryptocurrency created and managed using blockchain technology;

 

“China” and the “PRC” are to the People’s Republic of China, excluding, for the purposes of this prospectus only, Taiwan, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Macao Special Administrative Region;

 

“Class A ordinary shares” are to our Class A ordinary shares, par value HK$0.001 per share;

 

  “Class B ordinary shares” are to our Class B ordinary shares, par value HK$0.001 per share, which, upon the completion of this offering, will be beneficially owned by our controlling shareholder, Mr. Dong Hu;

 

“hash” are to a function used to map data of arbitrary size to data of fixed size and, in the context of Bitcoin mining, a function to solve the mining puzzle;

 

“hash rate” are to the processing power of the Bitcoin network and represents the number of computations that is processed by the network in a given time period;

 

“HK$” or “Hong Kong dollars” are to the legal currency of Hong Kong;

 

“ICs” or “chips” are to integrated circuits;

 

“nm” are to nanometer;

 

“POW” are to proof-of-work;

 

 

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“RMB” or “Renminbi” are to the legal currency of China;

 

  “shares” or “ordinary shares” are to our ordinary shares, par value HK$0.001 per share, and upon and after the completion of this offering, are to our Class A ordinary shares and Class B ordinary shares;

 

“tape-out” are to the final result of the design process for ICs when the graphic for the photomask of the IC is sent to the fabrication facility, and a successful tape-out means all the stages in the design and verification process of ICs have been completed;

 

“Thash” are to Terahash, the measuring unit of the processing power of the Bitcoin mining machine;

 

“Thash/s” or “TH/s,” “GH/s,” “PH/s” or “EH/s” are to the measuring unit of hash rate. 1 EH/s = 1,000 PH/s; 1 PH/s = 1,000 TH/s; 1 TH/s = 1,000 GH/s;

 

“US$,” “$” or “U.S. dollars” are to the legal currency of the United States; and

 

“we,” “us,” “our company,” “our”, “our group” or “Ebang” are to Ebang International Holdings Inc., our Cayman Islands holding company, its predecessor entity and its subsidiaries, as the context requires.

 

Unless the context indicates otherwise, all information in this prospectus assumes no exercise by the underwriters of their option to purchase additional ADSs.

 

We have made rounding adjustments to reach some of the figures included in this prospectus. Consequently, numerical figures shown as totals in some tables may not be arithmetic aggregations of the figures that precede them.

 

We use U.S. dollars as our reporting currency in our financial statements and in this prospectus, which forms a part of the registration statement on Form F-1. Assets and liabilities denominated in currencies other than the reporting currency are translated into the reporting currency at the rates of exchange ruling at the balance sheet date. Transactions in currencies other than the reporting currency are measured and recorded in the reporting currency at the exchange rate prevailing on the transaction date. We make no representation that the Renminbi and Hong Kong dollars referred to in this prospectus could have been or could be converted into U.S. dollars, Renminbi and Hong Kong dollars as the case may be, at any particular rate or at all. On April 3, 2020, the noon buying rate for Renminbi and Hong Kong dollars was RMB7.0908 to US$1.00 and HK$7.7530 to US$1.00, respectively.

 

 

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The Offering

 

Offering Price per ADS   We currently estimate that the initial public offering price will be between US$                    and US$                    per ADS.
     
ADSs Offered by Us                       ADSs (or                    ADSs if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional ADSs in full).
     
ADSs Outstanding Immediately After This Offering                       ADSs (or                    ADSs if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional ADSs in full).
     
Ordinary Shares Outstanding Immediately After This Offering                       Class A ordinary shares and                   Class B ordinary shares (or                    Class A ordinary shares and                   Class B ordinary shares if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional ADSs in full).
     
The ADSs  

Every ADS represents                    Class A ordinary share, par value HK$0.001 per share.

 

The depositary will hold the underlying Class A ordinary shares represented by the ADSs and you will have the rights of an ADS holder as provided in the deposit agreement among us, the depositary and holders and beneficial owners of ADSs from time to time.

 

We do not expect to pay dividends in the foreseeable future. If, however, we declare dividends on our Class A ordinary shares, the depositary will pay you the cash dividends and other distributions it receives on our Class A ordinary shares after deducting its fees and expenses in accordance with the terms set forth in the deposit agreement.

 

You may turn in your ADSs to the depositary in exchange for the underlying Class A ordinary shares. The depositary will charge you fees for any such exchange.

 

We and the depositary may amend or terminate the deposit agreement for any reason without your consent. If you continue to hold your ADSs after an amendment to the deposit agreement, you agree to be bound by the deposit agreement as amended.

 

To better understand the terms of the ADSs, you should carefully read the section in this prospectus entitled “Description of American Depositary Shares.” You should also read the deposit agreement, which is an exhibit to the registration statement that includes this prospectus.

     
Ordinary Shares  

Immediately prior to the completion of this offering, our issued and outstanding share capital will consist of Class A ordinary shares and Class B ordinary shares. Holders of our Class A ordinary shares and holders of our Class B ordinary shares will have the same rights, except for voting and conversion rights. In respect of matters requiring a shareholders’ vote, each Class A ordinary share will be entitled to one vote and each Class B ordinary share will be entitled to [20] votes. Each Class B ordinary share will be convertible into one Class A ordinary share, at any time, by the holder thereof. However, Class A ordinary shares will not be convertible into Class B ordinary shares at any time, under any circumstances.

 

Upon any sale, transfer, assignment or disposition of ownership in Class B ordinary shares by a holder thereof to any person that is not our controlling shareholder, Mr. Dong Hu, or an entity that is not ultimately controlled by him, such Class B ordinary shares will automatically and immediately converted into an equal number of Class A ordinary shares without any actions on the part of the transferor or the transferee. For further information, see “Description of Share Capital.”

 

 

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Option to purchase additional ADSs   We [have] granted to the underwriters an option, exercisable within 30 days from the date of this prospectus, to purchase up to an aggregate of                            additional ADSs at the initial public offering price, less underwriting discounts and commissions.
     
Use of Proceeds  

We estimate that we will receive net proceeds of approximately US$               million (or US$               million if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional ADSs in full) from this offering, assuming an initial public offering price of US$               per ADS, which is the mid-point of the estimated range of the initial public offering price, after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

 

We anticipate using the net proceeds of this offering primarily for development and introduction of new mining machines, corporate branding and marketing activities, and expansion of overseas business and new businesses.

 

See “Use of Proceeds” for more information.

     
Lock-up   We, [our directors, executive officers and existing shareholders] have agreed with the underwriters, subject to certain exceptions, not to sell, transfer or otherwise dispose of any ADSs, ordinary shares or similar securities or any securities convertible into or exchangeable or exercisable for our ordinary shares or ADSs, for a period of 180 days after the date of this prospectus. See “Shares Eligible for Future Sale” and “Underwriting.”
     
[Directed ADS Program]   [At our request, the underwriters have reserved for sale, at the initial public offering price, up to an aggregate of                    % of the ADSs being offered in this offering to some of our directors, executive officers, employees, business associates, related persons and members of their families through a directed ADS program.]
     
Listing   We intend to apply to have the ADSs listed on the [New York Stock Exchange/Nasdaq Global Market] under the symbol “                  .” The ADSs and our ordinary shares will not be listed on any stock exchange or traded on any automated quotation system.
     
Payment and settlement   The underwriters expect to deliver the ADSs against payment on                                , 2020, through the facilities of The Depository Trust Company, or DTC.
     
Risk Factors   See “Risk Factors” and other information included in this prospectus for a discussion of risks you should carefully consider before investing in the ADSs.
     
Depositary                                       .

 

The total number of ordinary shares that will be outstanding immediately after this offering is based upon:

 

111,771,000 ordinary shares issued and outstanding as of the date of this prospectus (assuming (1) the automatic re-designation of 46,625,783 ordinary shares held by Top Max Limited and beneficially owned by Mr. Dong Hu, our chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer, into Class B ordinary shares on a one-for-one basis immediately prior to the completion of this offering, and (2) the automatic re-designation of all of our remaining 65,145,217 ordinary shares into Class A ordinary shares on a one-for-one basis immediately prior to the completion of this offering); and

 

                   Class A ordinary shares represented by the ADSs that we will issue and sell in this offering (assuming the underwriters do not exercise their option to purchase additional ADSs);

 

but excludes:

 

                     Class A ordinary shares reserved for issuance under our 2020 Share Incentive Plan.

 

 

8

 

 

 

SUMMARY CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL AND OPERATING DATA

 

The following summary consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive loss data and cash flow data for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2019 and summary consolidated balance sheets data as of December 31, 2018 and 2019 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. Our consolidated financial statements are prepared and presented in accordance with the accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America, or the U.S. GAAP.

 

Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of results to be expected for any future period. The following summary consolidated financial data for the periods and as of the dates indicated are qualified by reference to, and should be read in conjunction with, our consolidated financial statements and the related notes and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included elsewhere in this prospectus.

 

Summary Consolidated Statements of Operations and Comprehensive Loss

 

    Years Ended
December 31,
 
    2018     2019  
    US$     US$  
    (in thousands)  
Revenues     319,042       109,060  
Product sales – Bitcoin mining machines and related accessories     307,127       89,919  
Product sales – Telecommunications     3,730       3,336  
Service – Management and maintenance     8,185       15,804  
Cost of revenues     (294,596 )     (139,624 )
Gross profit (loss)     24,446       (30,564 )
Operating expenses:                
Selling expenses     4,096       1,213  
General and administrative expenses     51,411       18,871  
Total operating expenses     55,507       20,084  
Loss from operations     (31,061 )     (50,648 )
Other income (expenses):                
Interest income     454       217  
Interest expenses     (921 )     (2,041 )
Other income     1,140       85  
Exchange gain (loss)     (404 )     5,694  
Government grants     799       6,299  
VAT refund     27,368       9  
Other expenses     (8,289 )     (288 )
Total other income     20,146       9,975  
Loss before income taxes provision     (10,915 )     (40,673 )
Income taxes provision     900       400  
Net loss     (11,814 )     (41,073 )
Less: net income attributable to non-controlling interest     494       1,330  
Net loss attributable to Ebang International Holdings Inc.     (12,308 )     (42,403 )

 

 

9

 

 

 

Summary Consolidated Balance Sheets

 

    As of
December 31,
 
    2018     2019  
    US$     US$  
    (in thousands)  
Current assets:            
Cash and cash equivalents     9,998       3,464  
Restricted cash, current     7,272       2,271  
Accounts receivable, net     21,577       8,128  
Advances to suppliers     2,627       1,062  
Inventories, net     66,269       13,089  
VAT recoverables     16,099       21,954  
Prepayments     797       13,273  
Other current assets, net     396       224  
Total current assets     125,033       63,465  
Non-current assets:                
Property, plant and equipment, net     16,998       13,225  
Intangible assets, net     4,700       3,784  
Operating lease right-of-use assets     -       1,280  
Operating lease right-of-use assets – relate party     -       37  
Restricted cash, non-current     2,212       43  
Other assets     516       776  
Total non-current assets     24,426       19,146  
Total assets     149,459       82,611  
Current liabilities:                
Accounts payable     43,630       11,832  
Notes payable     7,725       -  
Accrued liabilities and other payables     8,319       13,739  
Loans due within one year, less unamortized debt issuance costs     15,314       4,865  
Operating lease liabilities, current     -       794  
Operating lease liabilities – related party, current     -       37  
Income taxes payable     1       522  
Due to related party     -       6,243  
Advances from customers     2,010       1,016  
Total current liabilities     76,998       39,047  
Non-current liabilities:                
Long-term loans – related party     -       17,632  
Long-term loan, less current portion and unamortized debt issuance costs     4,629       -  
Operating lease liabilities, non-current     -       362  
Total non-current liabilities     4,629       17,994  
Total liabilities     81,627       57,040  
Total shareholders’ equity     67,832       25,571  
Total liabilities and shareholders’ equity     149,459       82,611  

 

Summary Consolidated Statements of Cash Flow

 

    Years Ended
December 31,
 
    2018     2019  
    US$     US$  
    (in thousands)  
Net cash used in operating activities     (108,232 )     (13,260 )
Net cash used in investing activities     (6,285 )     (5,809 )
Net cash provided by financing activities     13,960       8,548  
Net decrease in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash     (113,528 )     (13,703 )
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at the beginning of the year     133,009       19,481  
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at the end of the year     19,481       5,778  

 

 

10

 

 

 

Key Operating Data

 

The following table sets forth the sales volume and average selling prices per unit generated by our different Bitcoin mining machines for the periods indicated:

 

    Years Ended
December 31,
 
    2018     2019  
    Sales
Volume
    Average
Selling
Price
per Unit
    Sales
Volume
    Average
Selling
Price
per Unit
 
    (set)     (US$)     (set)     (US$)  
Ebit E9+     139,764       721       2,000       102  
Ebit E9 series(1)     231,351       178       151,233       74  
Ebit E10 series(2)     44,815       3,676       87,293       341  
Ebit E12     -       -       49,427       948  
Total     415,930       737       289,953       304  

 

 

(1)Mainly include Ebit E9.1, Ebit E9.2, Ebit E9.3, Ebit E9.5, Ebit E9i and Ebit E9i+ mining machines.
(2)Mainly include Ebit E10 and Ebit E10+ series mining machines, including Ebit E10.1, Ebit E10.2, Ebit E10.3 and Ebit E10.5.

 

The following table sets forth the total computing power sold and average selling prices per Thash of our Bitcoin mining machines expressed in terms of computing power for the periods indicated:

 

    Years Ended
December 31,
 
    2018     2019  
    Total
Computing
Power Sold
    Average
Selling
Price
per Thash
    Total
Computing
Power Sold
    Average
Selling
Price
per Thash
 
    (Thash/s)     (US$)     (Thash/s)     (US$)  
Ebit E9+     1,257,876       80       18,000       11  
Ebit E9 series(1)     2,996,713       14       2,015,935       6  
Ebit E10 series(2)     806,670       204       1,763,727       17  
Ebit E12     -       -       2,174,788       22  
Total     5,061,259       61       5,972,450       15  

 

 

(1)Mainly include Ebit E9.1, Ebit E9.2, Ebit E9.3, Ebit E9.5, Ebit E9i and Ebit E9i+ mining machines.
(2)Mainly include Ebit E10 and Ebit E10+ series mining machines, including Ebit E10.1, Ebit E10.2, Ebit E10.3 and Ebit E10.5.

 

 

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RISK FACTORS

 

An investment in the ADSs involves significant risks. You should carefully consider all of the information in this prospectus, including the risks and uncertainties described below, before making an investment in the ADSs. Any of the following risks could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. The trading price of the ADSs could decline due to any of these risks and you may lose all or part of your investment. When determining whether to invest, you should also refer to the other information contained in this prospectus, including our financial statements and the related notes thereto. You should also carefully review the cautionary statements referred to under “Forward-looking Statements.” Our actual results could differ materially and adversely from those anticipated in this prospectus.

 

Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry

 

Our results of operations have been and are expected to continue to be significantly impacted by the fluctuation of Bitcoin price, and in particular, significantly and negatively impacted by the sharp Bitcoin price decrease

 

Our mining machines are currently designed primarily for Bitcoin mining. The demand for, and pricing of, our mining machines are therefore affected by the expected economic returns of Bitcoin mining activities, which in turn are primarily driven by, among other factors, the Bitcoin price. The price of Bitcoin has experienced significant fluctuations over its short existence and may continue to fluctuate significantly in the future. Bitcoin price ranged from approximately US$12,619 per coin as of December 31, 2017 to approximately US$3,859 per coin as of December 31, 2018, according to Bitcoin.com. According to the same source, from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019, the highest Bitcoin price was US$12,806 per coin and the lowest was US$3,373 per coin. The decrease in the Bitcoin price in 2018 and the first quarter of 2019 resulted in a material decrease in our sales volume and in the average selling price of our Bitcoin mining machines. Although the Bitcoin price started to recover in the second quarter of 2019, our operations generally lag behind the increase of Bitcoin price, and we recorded a revenue of US$109.1 million in 2019. The recent market panics over the global outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) have caused a drastic drop in the Bitcoin price in March 2020. We expect that our business and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected by the global market panics over the COVID-19 outbreak in the near term. See “—Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry—The recent global coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak has caused significant disruptions in our business, which we expect will materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.”

 

We expect our results of operations to continue to be affected by the Bitcoin price, as we generated 96.3% and 82.4% of our revenue from sales of our Bitcoin mining machines and related accessories in 2018 and 2019, respectively, and 2.4% and 14.4% from provision of mining machine hosting services, respectively. Any future significant reductions in the price of Bitcoin will likely have a material and adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. We cannot assure you that the Bitcoin price will remain high enough to sustain the demand for our Bitcoin mining machines or that the Bitcoin price will not decline significantly in the future. Furthermore, fluctuations in the Bitcoin price can have an immediate impact on the trading price of the ADSs even before our financial performance is affected, if at all.

 

In addition to the market volatility, various other factors, mostly beyond our control, could impact the Bitcoin price. For example, the usage of Bitcoins in the retail and commercial marketplace is relatively low in comparison with the usage for speculation, which contributes to Bitcoin price volatility.

 

If the Bitcoin price or Bitcoin network transaction fees drop and fail to recover, the expected economic return of Bitcoin mining activities will diminish, thereby resulting in a decrease in demand for our Bitcoin mining machines. As a result, we may need to reduce the price of our Bitcoin mining machines. At the same time, if transaction fees increase to such an extent as to discourage users from using Bitcoins as a medium of exchange, it may decrease the transaction volume of the Bitcoin network and may affect the demand for our Bitcoin mining machines. In addition, any shortage of power supply due to government control measures or other reasons, and any increase in energy costs, would raise the costs of Bitcoin mining. This in turn could affect our customers’ expected economic return for mining activities and the demand for and pricing of our current Bitcoin mining machines.

 

12

 

 

Furthermore, fluctuations in the Bitcoin price may affect the value of our inventory as well as the provision we make to the inventory as we manage our inventory based on, among others, the sales forecast of our Bitcoin mining machines. As we generally increase our procurement volume and stock up finished goods for the launch of new products or we expect a surge of demand of Bitcoin mining machines, a significant drop in the Bitcoin price can lead to a lower expected sales price and excessive inventory, which in turn will lead to impairment losses with respect to such inventory. For example, in 2018 and 2019, as a result of the significant drop in the Bitcoin price, we recorded write-down for the potentially obsolete, slow-moving inventory and lower of cost or market adjustment of US$61.8 million and US$6.3 million in cost of revenues, respectively, which in turn had a significant negative impact on our profitability. If the Bitcoin price drops significantly in the future, we may need to make similar write-downs again. To the extent that we are able to sell such inventory above its carrying value, our gross profit may also be inflated by such write down.

 

The Bitcoin price drop also adversely impacted the ability of our customers who purchased our Bitcoin mining products to make payments. We offered sales on credit to some of our customers in response to the Bitcoin price drop in 2018 and may continue to offer credit sales. Additionally, if the Bitcoin price drops significantly in the future, we may need to offer to certain of our customers price concession, even if we generally do not offer a price concession to customers. See “Management’s discussion and analysis on financial condition and results of operations—Critical Accounting Policies—Revenue recognition” for details. For example, we accepted a lower amount of consideration for sales to certain of our significant longstanding customers in China to maintain a good customer relationship when the Bitcoin price dropped significantly in 2018, and thus provided price concession of US$12.1 million to such customers in 2018. We did not provide price concession to customers in 2019. However, we cannot assure you that we will not provide such price concession in the future. If we provide any price concession to our customers in the future, our revenues and results of operations may be adversely affected.

 

We have derived and may continue to derive a significant portion of our revenues from our Bitcoin mining machines. If the market for Bitcoin mining machines ceases to exist or diminishes significantly, our business, results of operations and financial condition would be materially and adversely affected

 

We have generated, and expect to generate in the foreseeable future, a significant portion of our revenues from sales of our Bitcoin mining machines. In 2018 and 2019, sales of our Bitcoin mining machines and related accessories accounted for 96.3% and 82.4% of our revenues, respectively. Revenues from provision of mining machine hosting services also accounted for 2.4% and 14.4% of our revenues in 2018 and 2019, respectively. If the market for Bitcoin mining machines ceases to exist or diminishes significantly, we would experience a significant loss of sales, cancelation of orders, or loss of customers for our Bitcoin mining machines. Adverse factors that may affect the market for Bitcoin mining machines include:

 

  Another cryptocurrency, especially one that is not created using the same mining processes as Bitcoin, displaces Bitcoin as the mainstream cryptocurrency, thereby causing Bitcoin to lose value or become worthless, which could adversely affect the sustainability of our business.
     
  Bitcoin fails to gain wide market acceptance and fails to become a generally accepted medium of exchange in the global economy due to certain inherent limitations to cryptocurrencies.
     
  Over time, the reward for Bitcoin mining will decline in terms of the amount of Bitcoin awarded, which may reduce the incentive to mine Bitcoin. Specifically, the next halving event is expected to occur in May 2020, and Bitcoins are expected to be fully mined out by the year 2140. Therefore, Bitcoin mining machines may become less productive as the available rewards for Bitcoin mining decrease.

 

If we cannot maintain the scale and profitability of our Bitcoin mining machines and, at the same time, successfully expand our business in other application markets, our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects will suffer. Furthermore, excess inventory, inventory markdowns, brand image deterioration and margin squeeze caused by declining economic returns for miners or pricing competition for our Bitcoin mining machines could all have a material and adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

13

 

 

We have incurred losses and negative cash flows from operating activities in the past, and we may not achieve or sustain profitability

 

We incurred a loss from operations of US$31.1 million and US$50.6 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively. We generated gross profit of US$24.4 million in 2018 and incurred a gross loss of US$30.6 million in 2019. We had negative cash flows from operating activities of US$108.2 million and US$13.3 million for 2018 and 2019, respectively. We cannot assure you that we will be able to generate net profit or positive cash flow from operating activities in the future. Our ability to achieve profitability will depend in large part on our ability to control expenses and manage our growth effectively, to achieve a more stable performance given the significant fluctuation and volatility of the Bitcoin price and Bitcoin mining machine business, and to maintain our competitive advantage in the Bitcoin markets. We expect to continue to make investments in the development and expansion of our business, which will place significant demands on our management and our operational and financial resources. Continuous expansion may increase the complexity of our business, and we may encounter various difficulties. We may fail to develop and improve our operational, financial and management controls, enhance our financial reporting systems and procedures, recruit, train and retain highly skilled personnel, or maintain customer satisfaction to effectively support and manage our growth. If we invest substantial time and resources to expand our operations but fail to manage the growth of our business and capitalize on our growth opportunities effectively, we may not be able to achieve profitability, and our business, results of operations and financial condition would be materially and adversely affected.

 

Our limited operating history and our volatile historical results of operations could make it difficult for us to forecast our business and assess the seasonality and volatility in our business

 

We began producing and selling our own brand mining machines in December 2016. We generated US$319.0 million and US$109.1 million in revenue in 2018 and 2019, respectively. As we have suffered from the significant drop in the average Bitcoin price historically, we cannot assure you that we will be able to gain revenue growth or that we will not experience another significant decline.

 

As the market for Bitcoin mining machines is relatively nascent and still rapidly evolving, we cannot forecast longer-term demand or order patterns for our products. Because of our limited operating history and historical data, as well as the limited visibility into future demand trends for our products, we may not be able to accurately forecast our future total revenue and budget our operating expenses accordingly. As most of our expenses are fixed in the short-term or incurred in advance of anticipated total revenue, we may not be able to adjust our expenses in a timely manner in order to offset any shortfall in revenue.

 

Our business is subject to the varying order patterns of the Bitcoin mining machine market. In addition, many of the regions in which our products are purchased have varying holiday seasons that differ from traditional patterns observed by other semiconductor suppliers and these seasonal buying patterns can impact our sales. We have experienced fluctuations in orders during our limited operating history, and we expect such volatility to occur in the future. Our volatile historical results of operations could make it difficult to assess the impact of seasonal factors on our business. If we or any of our third-party manufacturing service providers are unable to increase production of new or existing products to meet any increases in demand due to seasonality or other factors, our total revenue would be adversely affected and our reputation with our customers may be damaged. Conversely, if we overestimate customer demand, we may reduce our orders or delay shipments of our products from units forecasted, and our total revenue in a particular period could be lower than expected.

 

The recent global coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak has caused significant disruptions in our business, which we expect will materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition

 

The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has spread throughout the world, especially in China, the United States and Europe. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global pandemic. Many businesses and social activities in China and other countries and regions have been severely disrupted, including those of our suppliers, customers and employees. This global outbreak has also caused market panics, which materially and negatively affected the global financial markets, such as the plunge of global stocks on major stock exchanges in March 2020. Such disruption and the potential slowdown of the world’s economy in 2020 and beyond could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. We and our customers have experienced significant business disruptions and suspension of operations due to quarantine measures to contain the spread of the pandemic, which may cause shortage in the supply of raw materials, reduce our production capacity, increase the likelihood of default from our customers and delay our product delivery. The pandemic has also led to great volatility in the Bitcoin price, which may negatively affect the demand for our mining machines both in terms of the price and the quantity. Our business operation could also be disrupted if any of our employees are suspected of having contracted any contagious disease or condition, since it could require our employees to be quarantined or our offices and production to be closed down and disinfected. All of these would have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition in the near term. Additionally, if the outbreak persists or escalates, we may be subject to further negative impact on our business operations and financial condition.

 

We have been involved, and may continue to be involved, in disputes, claims or proceedings arising from our operations from time to time, which could result in significant liabilities and reputational harm and could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations

 

We have been, and in the future may continue to be, involved in disputes, claims or proceedings arising out of our operations. For example, we are currently involved in several ongoing civil actions in relation to our sales of mining machines to several customers and our procurement of ASIC wafers from a supplier. See “Business—Legal Proceedings.” In addition, we may have disagreements with regulatory bodies in the course of our operations, which may subject us to administrative proceedings and unfavorable orders, directives or decrees that may result in financial losses. Ongoing disputes, claims or proceedings may divert our management’s attention and consume their time and our other resources. Furthermore, any disputes, claims or proceedings which are initially not of material importance may escalate and become important to us, due to a variety of factors, such as the facts and circumstances of the cases, the likelihood of loss, the monetary amount at stake and the parties involved.

 

14

 

 

Negative publicity arising from disputes, claims or proceedings may damage our reputation and adversely affect the image of our brands and products. In addition, if any verdict or award is rendered against us, we could be required to pay significant monetary damages, assume other liabilities and even to suspend or terminate the related business ventures or projects. Consequently, our business, results of operations and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected.

 

Our business requires significant financial resources, and we have obtained a significant portion of our borrowings from related parties. We may need additional capital but may not be able to obtain it in a timely manner and on favorable terms or at all

 

We recorded net cash outflow from operating activities of US$108.2 million and US$13.3 million and incurred net losses of US$11.8 million and US$41.1 million for 2018 and 2019, respectively. We have in the past financed our working capital needs primarily with our net cash from operating activities, capital contributions by shareholders and bank borrowings. In 2019 and up to the date of this prospectus, a significant portion of our loans came from our related parties, incurred primarily to support our operation. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Liquidity and Capital Resources” for details. As of the date of this prospectus, the aggregate amount of our outstanding loans is US$30.8 million, all of which are due to our related parties. See “Related Party Transactions” for details.

 

We may require additional cash resources due to the future growth, development and expansion of our business. Our future capital requirements may be substantial as we seek to expand our operations, diversify our product offering, and pursue acquisitions and equity investments. In addition, we incurred accrued payables of US$13.7 million and accounts payable of US$11.8 million as of December 31, 2019. If our cash resources are insufficient to satisfy our cash requirements, we may seek to issue additional equity or debt securities or obtain new or expanded credit facilities or enter into additional factoring arrangements.

 

Our ability to obtain external financing in the future is subject to a variety of uncertainties, including our future financial condition, results of operations and cash flows and the liquidity of international capital and lending markets. In addition, our loan agreements may contain financial covenants that restrict our ability to incur additional indebtedness or to distribute dividends. Any indebtedness that we may incur in the future may also contain operating and financial covenants that could further restrict our operations. There can be no assurance that financing will be available in a timely manner or in amounts or on terms acceptable to us, or at all. A large amount of bank borrowings and other debt may result in a significant increase in interest expense while at the same time exposing us to increased interest rate risks. Equity financings could result in dilution to our shareholders, and the securities issued in future financings may have rights, preferences and privileges that are senior to those of our ordinary shares or ADSs. Any failure to raise needed funds on terms favorable to us, or at all, could severely restrict our liquidity as well as have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

Our business growth is dependent on the development of blockchain technology and applications, particularly in the field of Bitcoin

 

We derive our revenue predominantly from our blockchain products business. The development of blockchain technology is still in a relatively early stage, and there can be no assurance that blockchain applications, including those in the fields of cryptocurrencies and other areas such as AI, will gain wide market acceptance. Any blockchain application may become redundant or obsolete with the introduction of new competing technologies or products. If market acceptance or confidence in blockchain technology is lost or reduced for any reason, such as due to cybersecurity issues, the demand for our existing or future blockchain products may decline.

 

Our blockchain products business depends significantly on the development of cryptocurrency applications, in particular, Bitcoin applications, as all of our mining machines are currently designed for Bitcoin mining. The cryptocurrency market is rapidly and continuously evolving. Any actual or perceived adverse development in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies can significantly affect market demand for mining activities and mining machines. In addition, any event or rumor that generates negative publicity for the cryptocurrency market could hinder the development and reduce market acceptance of cryptocurrency applications. Under such circumstances, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.

 

The average selling prices of our products may decrease from time to time due to technological advancement and we may not be able to pass onto our suppliers such decreases, which may in turn adversely affect our profitability

 

The IC design industry is characterized by rapid launches of new products, continuous technological advancements and changing market trends and customer preferences, all of which translate to a shorter life cycle and a gradual decrease in the average selling prices of products over time. For example, the average selling price per unit for our Bitcoin mining machines decreased from US$737 in 2018 to US$304 in 2019, and the average selling price per TH/s for our Bitcoin mining machines decreased from US$61 in 2018 to US$15 in 2019. Because we compete in the environment of rapidly-evolving technology advancement and market trends and developments of the IC design industry, we cannot assume you that we will be able to pass on any decrease in average selling prices of our products to our suppliers. If the average selling prices of our products unusually or significantly decrease and such decreases cannot be offset by a corresponding decrease in the prices of the principal components of our products, our gross profit margins may be materially and adversely affected, which in turn, may adversely affect our profitability.

  

15

 

  

We may not be able to price our products at our desired margins as a result of any decrease in our bargaining power or changes in market conditions

 

We set prices for our mining machines and telecommunication products based on a number of internal and external factors, such as the cost of production, the technological contents of our products, market conditions, and competition we face. Our ability to set favorable prices at our desired margins and to accurately estimate costs, among other factors, has a significant impact on our profitability. We cannot assure you that we will be able to maintain our pricing or bargaining power or that our gross profit margin will not be driven down by market conditions or other factors. If we see higher pricing pressure due to intensified competition from other manufacturers, decreases in prices to our customers in the end market or any other reasons, or if we otherwise lose bargaining power due to weaker demand for our products, we may need to reduce the prices and lower the margins of our products. Moreover, we may not be able to accurately estimate our costs or pass on all or part of any increase in our costs of production, in particular the costs of raw materials, components and parts, to our customers. As a result, our results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 

We are exposed to credit risks and concentration of credit risks in relation to defaults from counterparties

 

There are credit risks associated with our business. In particular, a drop in the Bitcoin price may also result in lower economic returns for mining activities of our blockchain customers and adversely affect their businesses and financial conditions, which may further affect their credit profiles and their ability to settle our accounts receivables. Although we generally require our blockchain customers to make full payment for our mining machines before delivery of products in 2018, we began offering credit sales to customers in China.

 

As of December 31, 2018 and 2019, our net accounts receivable were US$21.6 million and US$8.1 million, respectively, and we recorded allowance for doubtful accounts of US$1.8 million and US$1.8 million as of the same dates.

 

In addition, we also face concentration of credit risks associated with our business. Our exposure to credit risk is influenced mainly by the individual characteristics of each customer as well as the industry or country in which the customers operate, and is concentrated on few number of customers. As of December 31, 2018 and 2019, 33% and 15% of our total accounts receivables were due from one of our customers, respectively, and approximately 71% and 42% of our accounts receivables were attributable to three of our customers, respectively.

 

Although we monitor our exposure to credit risk on an ongoing basis and make periodic judgment on impairment of overdue receivables based on the likelihood of collectability, we cannot assure you that all of our counterparties are creditworthy and reputable and will not default on payments in the future. If we encounter significant delays or defaults in payment by our customers or are otherwise unable to recover our accounts receivables, our cash flow, liquidity and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected.

 

Adverse changes in the regulatory environment in the PRC market could have a material adverse impact on our blockchain products business

 

We generated 91.4% and 87.5% of our total revenue from sales in the PRC market in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Our blockchain products business could therefore be significantly affected by, among other things, the regulatory developments in the PRC. Governmental authorities are likely to continue to issue new laws, rules and regulations governing the cryptocurrency industry we operate in and enhance enforcement of existing laws, rules and regulations. For example, Xinjiang, an autonomous region in northwest China, warned local Bitcoin mining enterprises that were operating illegally to close their operations before August 30, 2018 and the People’s Bank of China, or the PBOC, imposed a ban in September 2017 prohibiting financial institutions from engaging in initial coin offering transactions. Some jurisdictions, including the PRC, restrict various uses of cryptocurrencies, including the use of cryptocurrencies as a medium of exchange, the conversion between cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies or between cryptocurrencies, the provision of trading and other services related to cryptocurrencies by financial institutions and payment institutions, and initial coin offerings and other means of capital raising based on cryptocurrencies. In addition, cryptocurrencies may be used by market participants for black market transactions, to conduct fraud, money laundering and terrorism-funding, tax evasion, economic sanction evasion or other illegal activities. As a result, governments may seek to regulate, restrict, control or ban the mining, use, holding and transferring of cryptocurrencies. We may not be able to eliminate all instances where other parties use our products to engage in money laundering or other illegal or improper activities. We cannot assure you that we will successfully detect all money laundering or other illegal or improper activities which may adversely affect our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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With advances in technology, cryptocurrencies are likely to undergo significant changes in the future. It remains uncertain whether Bitcoin will be able to cope with, or benefit from, those changes. In addition, as Bitcoin mining employs sophisticated and high computing power devices that need to consume large amounts of electricity to operate, future developments in the regulation of energy consumption, including possible restrictions on energy usage in the jurisdictions where we sell our products, may also affect our business operations and the demand for our current Bitcoin mining machines. There has been negative public reaction to surrounding the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining, particularly the large consumption of electricity, and governments of various jurisdictions have responded. For example, in the United States, certain local governments of the state of Washington have discussed measures to address the environmental impacts of Bitcoin-related operations, such as the high electricity consumption of Bitcoin mining activities.

 

Furthermore, we are in the process of developing mining machines for other cryptocurrencies, and we plan to expand our current mining machine hosting services to establish mining farms which would allow us to engage in both hosting services for third parties and proprietary Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency mining activities to mine cryptocurrencies for ourselves. We also intend to set up a cryptocurrency trading exchange to provide cryptocurrency trading related services to cryptocurrency communities in the near feature in overseas jurisdictions. However, relevant restrictions from existing and future regulations on mining, holding, using, or transferring of cryptocurrencies may adversely affect our future business operations and results of operations. For example, although mining activities have not been explicitly prohibited by the PRC government, any further order of the PRC government to limit cryptocurrency mining may result in a crackdown on the cryptocurrency market and adversely affect our mining machine sales, potential mining activities and other cryptocurrency-related businesses. Furthermore, as advised by our PRC legal advisor, the PRC government has prohibited entities from establishing cryptocurrency exchanges and engaging in cryptocurrency trading businesses. Although we plan to conduct potential cryptocurrency trading related services in overseas jurisdictions to the extent feasible, any further order of the PRC government to block access to foreign platforms that enable centralized trading of cryptocurrencies in China may materially and adversely affect our business expansion plans and prospects. It is possible that the cryptocurrency market may respond to such regulations by moving to other countries or changing its practices to comply. However, it is unclear how various countries will regulate the blockchain or how the market will respond to such regulations. If any jurisdictions impose limitations on the mining, use, holding or transferring of cryptocurrencies or any cryptocurrency-related activity, our business prospects, operations and financial results may be negatively impacted.

 

In addition, our plan to expand our current mining machine hosting services to establish and operate mining farms, either for the provision of hosting services to third parties or for our proprietary mining activities, may be affected adversely by laws and regulations on securities and the financial regulatory environment in China and other jurisdictions we operate. For example, if cryptocurrencies or the mining of cryptocurrencies are regarded or reclassified retroactively as securities by various governmental authorities, our distribution of cryptocurrencies to potential members of our mining farms is likely to be deemed as issuance of cryptocurrencies to investors for financing purpose and thus prohibited under the PRC laws. Any such regulations, if implemented, will cause us to incur additional compliance costs and have a material adverse effect on our future business operations.

 

The current regulatory environment in foreign markets, and any adverse changes in that environment, could have a material adverse impact on our blockchain products business

 

We currently export our products to various overseas markets and intend to develop our business and operations in jurisdictions outside the PRC in the future. We also intend to set up a cryptocurrency trading exchange outside the PRC to provide cryptocurrency trading related services to cryptocurrency communities. Our blockchain products business could therefore be significantly affected by regulatory developments in jurisdictions outside the PRC, including the United States. Governmental authorities, including those in the United States, oversee certain aspects of the cryptocurrency markets, have taken actions based on current laws and regulations, and are likely to continue to issue new laws, rules and regulations governing the cryptocurrency industry we operate in. As a result, and as discussed further below, existing and future regulations affecting the mining, holding, using, or transferring of cryptocurrencies may adversely affect our future business operations and results of operations, and could even result in our or our customers’ liability for activities conducted by our customers.

 

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As described under “Regulation—Regulatory Overview of United States,” United States federal and state securities laws may specifically limit our ability and the ability of our customers to use our blockchain and telecommunications products where these operations are conducted in connection with cryptocurrencies that are considered “securities” for purposes of U.S. law. We have begun developing new chips for mining cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin, and the likely status of these cryptocurrencies as securities could limit distributions, transfers, or other actions involving such cryptocurrencies, including mining, in the United States. For example, the distribution of cryptocurrencies to miners through the mining process could be deemed to involve an illegal offering or distribution of securities subject to federal or state law. In addition, miners on cryptocurrency networks could, under certain circumstances, be viewed as statutory underwriters or as “brokers” subject to regulation under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. This could require us or our customers to change, limit, or cease their mining operations, register as broker-dealers and comply with applicable law, or be subject to penalties, including fines. In addition, we could have liability for facilitating their illegal activities.

 

Further, cryptocurrencies are subject to additional U.S. laws and regulations related to transactions in commodities as enforced by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC, and to money transmission, money service business, anti-money laundering, and know-your-customer activities as enforced by the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, and by state governments. We or our customers could be subject to regulatory restrictions or regulatory actions based on these laws and regulations.

 

Any restrictions imposed by a foreign government could force us to restructure operations, perhaps significantly, which could result in significant costs and inefficiencies that harm our profitability, or even cause us to cease operations in the applicable jurisdiction. In addition, existing and proposed laws and regulations can delay or impede the development of new products, result in negative publicity, decrease demand for our products, require significant management time and attention, and subject us to claims or other remedies, including fines or demands that we modify or cease existing business practices.

 

In addition, any action brought against us or our customers by a foreign regulator, or by an individual in a private action, based on foreign law could cause us or our customers to incur significant legal expenses and divert our management’s attention from the operation of the business. If our or our customers’ operations are found to be in violation of any laws and regulations, we or they may be subject to penalties associated with the violation, including civil and criminal penalties, damages and fines. This could in turn require us to curtail or cease all or some operations. Regulatory action or regulatory change could also decrease demand for our products, which would be harmful to the success of our business.

 

If we are unable to manage our growth or execute our strategies effectively, our business, results of operations and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected

 

We are in the process of developing ICs for mining other cryptocurrencies in order to adapt our future models of mining machines to other cryptocurrencies promptly and efficiently when all the Bitcoins have been discovered or Bitcoin is replaced by other cryptocurrencies as the mainstream cryptocurrency. We began to provide mining machine hosting services in 2017 and intend to leverage our experience in the mining machine industry to establish mining farms and provide cryptocurrency trading-related services to the cryptocurrency community in order to diversify our offerings. See “Business—Our Strategies—Expand into new business opportunities in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry to diversify our offerings.” We may fail to successfully execute our expansion plan due to our limited resources and other reasons beyond our control. For example, the gain we obtain from running mining farms may not cover their operating expenses due to a prolonged depression of cryptocurrency prices, and our cryptocurrency trading related services may be unable to compete effectively with other similar services already available to the cryptocurrency community. In addition, we may face relevant restrictions from existing and future regulations in connection with our expansion into these new business areas. See “—Adverse changes in the regulatory environment in the PRC market could have a material adverse impact on our blockchain products business.” While we have been closely monitoring the development of the relevant regulations and have been in communication with regulatory authorities, these new business initiatives may not be viable due to regulatory concerns. Should we fail to successfully manage our growth or implement our strategies, the resources we allocate to the new business lines will be wasted, and our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.

 

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If Bitcoin is replaced by other cryptocurrencies as the mainstream cryptocurrency, we will lose the market for our current mining machines and our results of operations will be materially and adversely affected

 

Although we have begun to develop new chips for mining other cryptocurrencies all of our revenue from sales of cryptocurrency mining machines was generated from the sale of mining machines designed for Bitcoin mining in 2018 and 2019. We face the risk that other cryptocurrencies could replace Bitcoin as the largest cryptocurrency, which may in turn negatively impact the value of Bitcoin and diminish interest in mining Bitcoin. Acceptance of Bitcoin may decline due to various reasons such as the following:

 

potential changes in Bitcoin’s algorithms or source code may negatively impact user acceptance;

 

patches, upgrades, attacks or hacking of Bitcoin’s infrastructure may undermine user interest or confidence;

 

usage of Bitcoin for illicit or illegal activities by bad actors may erode public perception of Bitcoin; or

 

hacking, fraud or other problems with Bitcoin exchanges, wallets or other related infrastructure may negatively impact user confidence.

 

If fewer people accept Bitcoin currency or fewer merchants accept Bitcoin as a payment method, Bitcoin may decline in value. Although Bitcoin is currently the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, a substantial amount of Bitcoin-related transactions may be speculation-related and a technological breakthrough in the form of a better cryptocurrency is a continuous threat. Other cryptocurrencies may be designed with algorithms that are not compatible with the kind of computing done by ASIC chip mining machines. If such a cryptocurrency were to become dominant, our existing technological know-how may not be applicable in creating hardware for participants in that cryptocurrency network, and we may face greater competition from new players. In addition, since the value of and support for Bitcoin depend entirely on the community using it, any disagreement between the users may result in the splitting of the network to support other cryptocurrencies and the users may sell all their Bitcoins and switch to other cryptocurrencies. As a result, our mining machines and our results of operations would be materially and adversely affected.

 

We rely on a limited number of third parties to fabricate our ASIC chips, which are the core technology used in our mining machines

 

The ASIC chip is the key component of a mining machine as it determines the efficiency of the device. Currently, only a small number of wafer foundries in the world are capable of producing the highly sophisticated silicon wafers used for ASIC chips. Therefore, the ability to source high-quality wafers is a major barrier to entry for new entrants and has provided us with a great competitive advantage in the market.

 

In 2018 and 2019, all of our ASIC wafers were fabricated by Samsung. We have historically purchased ASIC wafers through a supply arrangement with an intermediary that directly purchases ASIC chips from Samsung as Samsung’s approved customer. Such intermediary was our largest supplier in 2018. Our purchases of ASIC chips from Samsung and another intermediary that directly purchases from Samsung were the largest in 2019. We have entered into an agreement with Samsung, effective May 2018, for developing ASIC chips, and we are working directly with Samsung on a development project for our second generation 10 nm ASIC chip. However, this agreement does not guarantee that Samsung will reserve foundry capacity for us, which we believe is in line with market arrangements with other wafer foundries. As such, there are risks that Samsung may be unable to accept our purchase orders or continue their supply of ASIC wafers to us. Such changes may result in delays to our production, which could negatively affect our reputation and results of operations.

 

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In order to reduce our reliance on Samsung, we have established working relations with TSMC since November 2017 and are in discussions with other major wafer foundries for possible future orders. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to continue to source ASIC wafers from Samsung or TSMC on the same or similar terms or in a timely manner, or start to source ASIC wafers from other suppliers. In addition, replacing a supplier may require that we divert attention and resources away from our business. We may also suffer lower gross profit margins if we fail to pass on any additional costs to our customers. As a result, a change in our relationship with Samsung or TSMC could have a significant negative impact on our business, financial condition and results of operation.

 

We depend on a limited number of suppliers to allocate to us a portion of its manufacturing capacity sufficient to meet our needs, to produce products of acceptable quality and at acceptable final test yields, and to deliver those products to us on a timely basis and at acceptable prices. These suppliers may raise prices or may be unable to meet our required capacity for any reason, such as shortages or delays in the shipment of semiconductor equipment or raw materials required to manufacture our ICs. In addition, our business relationships with them may deteriorate. For example, in November 2019, we brought a legal action against a then-major supplier for breach of contract for delivering defective products. Under such circumstances, we may not be able to obtain the required capacity and would have to seek alternative foundries, which may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. Moreover, it is possible that other customers of these suppliers that are larger and/or better financed than we are, or that have long-term contracts with them, may receive preferential treatment in terms of capacity allocation or pricing. In addition, if we do not accurately forecast our capacity needs, these suppliers may not have available capacity to meet our immediate needs or we may be required to pay higher costs to fulfill those needs, either of which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

In particular, the production of our ASICs may require advanced IC fabrication technologies. Foundries other than Samsung or TSMC, however, might not have sufficient production capacity for such technologies, or at all, to meet our requirements. This may expose us to risks associated with engaging new foundries. For example, using foundries with which we have not established relationships could expose us to potentially unfavorable pricing, unsatisfactory quality or insufficient capacity allocation.

 

Other risks associated with our dependence on a single third-party foundry include limited control over delivery schedules and quality assurance, lack of capacity in periods of excess demand, unauthorized use of our intellectual property and limited ability to manage inventory and parts. In particular, although we have entered into confidentiality agreements with our third-party foundry for the protection of our intellectual property, it may not protect our intellectual property with the same degree of care as we use to protect our intellectual property. If we fail to properly manage any of these risks, our business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected. Moreover, if Samsung or TSMC suffers any damage to its facilities, suspends manufacturing operations, loses benefits under material agreements, experiences power outages or computer virus attacks, lacks sufficient capacity to manufacture our products, encounters financial difficulties, is unable to secure necessary raw materials from its suppliers or suffers any other disruption or reduction in efficiency, we may encounter supply delays or disruptions. Further, the recent trade disputes between Japan and South Korea could materially and adversely affect Samsung’s supply of ASIC wafers. In July 2019, Japan decided to restrict exports to South Korea of certain materials used in memory chips. Such measures created massive pressures on the production activities of Samsung. If such trade tensions continue escalating without a resolution and Samsung cannot secure alternative supply of key materials that are banned by Japan, Samsung’s ability to supply us with adequate ASIC wafers, which are the core components of our mining machines, may be jeopardized, and as a result, our business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

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High customer concentration exposes us to all of the risks faced by our major customers and may subject us to significant fluctuations or declines in revenues

 

Our customers include both enterprises and individuals. A limited number of our major customers, however, have contributed a significant portion of our revenues in the past. In 2018 and 2019, we generated approximately 34% and 34% of our total revenues from the top three largest customers, respectively, and approximately 57% and 58% from the top ten largest customers, respectively. Although we continually seek to diversify our customer base, we cannot assure you that the proportion of the revenue contribution from these customers to our total revenues will decrease in the near future. We offer credit sales to our major, long-term customers. Dependence on a limited number of major customers will expose us to the risks of substantial losses and may increase our account receivables and extend its turn over days if any of them reduces or even ceases business collaborations with us. Specifically, any one of the following events, among others, may cause material fluctuations or declines in our revenues and have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects:

 

an overall decline in the business of one or more of our significant customers;

 

the decision by one or more of our significant customers to switch to our competitors;

 

the reduction in the prices of our mining machines agreed by one or more of our significant customers; or

 

the failure or inability of any of our significant customers to make timely payment for our services.

 

If we fail to maintain relationships with these major customers, and if we are unable to find replacement customers on commercially desirable terms or in a timely manner or at all, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.

 

Our prepayments to suppliers may subject us to counterparty risk associated with such suppliers and negatively affect our liquidity

 

We are required to prepay some of our suppliers before the service is provided to secure the supplier’s production capacity. The amount of our prepayments may significantly increase as we continue to pursue technological advancement. We are subject to counterparty risk exposure to our suppliers. Any failure by our suppliers to perform their contract obligations on a timely manner and/or with our requested quality may result in us not being able to fulfill customers’ orders accordingly. In such event, we may not be able to regain the prepayment in a timely manner or in full, even though our suppliers are obligated to return such prepayments under specified circumstances as previously agreed upon. Furthermore, if the cash outflows for the prepayments significantly exceed the cash inflows during any period, our future liquidity position will be adversely affected.

 

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If we fail to maintain appropriate inventory levels in line with the approximate level of demand for our products, we could lose sales or face excessive inventory risks and holding costs

 

To operate our business successfully and meet our customers’ demands and expectations, we must maintain a certain level of finished goods inventory to ensure immediate delivery when required. We are also required to maintain an appropriate level of raw materials for our production. However, forecasts are inherently uncertain. If our forecasted demand is lower than what eventually transpires, we may not be able to maintain an adequate inventory level of our finished goods or produce our products in a timely manner, and we may lose sales and market share to our competitors. On the other hand, we may also be exposed to increased inventory risks due to accumulated excess inventory of our products or raw materials, parts and components for our products. Excess inventory levels may lead to increases in inventory holding costs, risks of inventory obsolescence and provisions for write-downs, which will materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

In order to maintain an appropriate inventory level of finished goods and raw materials to meet market demand, we adjust our procurement amount and production schedule from time to time based on customers’ orders and anticipated demand. We also carry out an inventory review and an aging analysis on a regular basis. We make provision for obsolete and slow-moving inventory of raw materials and finished goods that are no longer suitable for use in production or sale. However, we cannot guarantee that these measures will always be effective and that we will be able to maintain an appropriate inventory level. We may also be exposed to the risk of holding excessive inventory, including older generation mining machines that are less marketable as well as older ASIC chips which may increase our inventory holding costs and subject us to the risk of inventory obsolescence or write-offs, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. For example, we recorded write-down for the potentially obsolete, slow-moving inventory and lower of cost or market adjustment of US$61.8 million and US$6.3 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively, primarily due to the decrease in the market price of the Bitcoin. If we cannot maintain an appropriate inventory level, we may lose sales and market share to our competitors.

 

The industries in which we operate are characterized by constant changes. If we fail to continuously innovate and to provide products that meet the expectations of our customers, we may be unable to attract new customers or retain existing customers, and hence our business and results of operations may be adversely affected

 

The industries in which we operate are characterized by constant changes, including rapid technological evolution, continual shifts in customer demands, frequent introductions of new products and solutions and constant emergence of new industry standards and practices. Thus, our success will depend, in part, on our ability to respond to these changes in a cost-effective and timely manner. We need to anticipate the emergence of new technologies and assess their market acceptance. We also need to invest significant resources in research and development in order to keep our products competitive in the market.

 

However, research and development activities are inherently uncertain, and we might encounter practical difficulties in commercializing our research and development results, which could result in excessive research and development expenses or delays. Given the fast pace with which blockchain has been and will continue to be developed, we may not be able to timely upgrade our technologies in an efficient and cost-effective manner, or at all. In addition, new developments in AI, deep learning, Internet-of-things, computer vision, blockchain and cryptocurrency could render our products obsolete or unattractive. If we are unable to keep up with the technological developments and anticipate market trends, or if new technologies render our technologies or solutions obsolete, customers may no longer be attracted to our products. As a result, our business, results of operations and financial condition would be materially and adversely affected.

 

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Increasing mining difficulty could result in downward pressure on the expected economic returns on Bitcoin mining

 

The difficulty of Bitcoin mining, or the amount of computational resources required for a set amount of reward for recording a new block, directly affects the expected economic returns for Bitcoin miners, which in turn affects the demand for our Bitcoin mining machines. Bitcoin mining difficulty is a measure of how much computing power is required to record a new block, and it is affected by the total amount of computing power in the Bitcoin network. The Bitcoin algorithm is designed so that one block is generated, on average, every ten minutes, no matter how much computing power is in the network. Thus, as more computing power joins the network, and assuming the rate of block creation does not change (remaining at one block generated every ten minutes), the amount of computing power required to generate each block and hence the mining difficulty increases. In other words, based on the current design of the Bitcoin network, Bitcoin mining difficulty would increase together with the total computing power available in the Bitcoin network, which is in turn affected by the number of Bitcoin mining machines in operation. For example, Bitcoin mining difficulty would increase based on increases in the total computing power available in the Bitcoin network, which is in turn affected by the number of Bitcoin mining machines in operation. From January 2017 to December 2019, Bitcoin mining difficulty increased by approximately 35 times, according to Blockchain.info. As a result, a strong growth in sales of our Bitcoin mining machines can contribute to further growth in the total computing power in the network, thereby driving up the difficulty of Bitcoin mining and resulting in downward pressure on the expected economic return of Bitcoin mining and the demand for, and pricing of, our products.

 

In addition, the number of Bitcoins awarded for solving a block in the blockchain halves approximately every four years until the estimated complete depletion of Bitcoin by around the year 2140. In each of 2013, 2014 and 2015, approximately 25 Bitcoins were awarded for each block solved. The number of Bitcoins awarded for solving a block halved in 2016 to 12.5 Bitcoins per block, and is expected to halve again in May 2020 to 6.25 Bitcoins per block. It is unclear how the market will react to future reward halving events and how the Bitcoin price and the expected economic returns on Bitcoin mining will be affected.

 

Aside from mining rewards, transaction fees are another form of incentive for participation in Bitcoin verification processes. Bitcoin users may offer to pay a discretionary Bitcoin transaction fee to the network member who solves the block and adds that user’s transaction to the blockchain to incentivize prioritizing that user’s transaction. Transaction fees are discretionary, so if the transaction fees were to become the only or primary income for Bitcoin mining activities in the future, the expected economic returns from Bitcoin mining and therefore the demand for our products will decrease significantly, which will result in a significant negative impact on our business and results of operations.

 

Shortages in, or rises in the prices of, the components of our mining machines may adversely affect our business

 

Given the long production period to manufacture, assemble, and deliver certain components and products, problems could arise in planning production and managing inventory levels that could seriously interrupt our operations, including the possibility of defective parts, an increase in component costs, delays in delivery schedules, and shortages of components. In addition to ASIC chips, the components we use for our mining machines include printed circuit boards, or PCBs, other electronic components, fans, and aluminum casings. The production of our mining machines also requires certain ancillary equipment and components such as controllers, power adaptors, and connectors. The production of our current products depends on obtaining adequate supplies of these components on a timely basis and at competitive prices. We do not typically maintain large inventory of the components, and rather purchase them on an “as-needed” basis from various third-party component manufacturers that satisfy our quality standards and meet our production requirements. We may have to turn to less reputable suppliers if we cannot source adequate components from our regular suppliers. Under such circumstances, the quality of the components may suffer and could cause performance issues in our mining machines.

 

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Shortages of components could result in reduced production or delays in production, as well as an increase in production costs, which may negatively affect our ability to fulfill orders or make timely shipments to blockchain customers, as well as our customer relationships and profitability. Component shortages may also increase our costs of goods sold because we may be required to pay higher prices for components in short supply, or redesign or reconfigure products to accommodate for the substitute components, without being able to pass such cost to our blockchain customers. As a result, our business, results of operations and reputation could be materially and adversely affected by any product defects.

 

We may not be able to price our products at our desired margins as a result of any decrease in our bargaining power or changes in market conditions

 

We set prices for our mining machines and telecommunication products based on a number of internal and external factors, such as the cost of production, the technological contents of our products, market conditions, and competition we face. Our ability to set favorable prices at our desired margins and to accurately estimate costs, among other factors, has a significant impact on our profitability. We cannot assure you that we will be able to maintain our pricing or bargaining power or that our gross profit margin will not be driven down by market conditions or other factors. If we see higher pricing pressure due to intensified competition from other manufacturers, decreases in prices to our customers in the end market or any other reasons, or if we otherwise lose bargaining power due to weaker demand for our products, we may need to reduce the prices and lower the margins of our products. Moreover, we may not be able to accurately estimate our costs or pass on all or part of any increase in our costs of production, in particular the costs of raw materials, components and parts, to our customers. As a result, our results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 

Failure at tape-out or failure to achieve the expected final test yields for our ASIC chips could negatively impact our results of operations

 

The tape-out process is a critical milestone in our business. A successful tape-out means all the stages in the design and verification process of our ASIC chips have been completed, and the chip design is ready to be sent for manufacturing. The tape-out process requires considerable investment in time and resources and close cooperation with the wafer foundry, and repeated failures can significantly increase our costs, lengthen our product development period and delay our product launch. If the tape-out or testing of a new ASIC chip design fails, either as a result of design flaws by our research and development team or problems with production or the testing process by the wafer foundry, we may incur considerable costs and expenses to fix or restart the design process. Such obstacles may decrease our profitability or delay the launch of new products.

 

Once tape-out is successful, the ASIC design is sent for manufacturing, and the final test yield is a measurement of the production success rate. The final test yield is a function of both product design, which is developed by us, and process technology, which typically belongs to a third-party foundry, such as Samsung and TSMC in our case. Low final test yields can result from a product design deficiency or a process technology failure or a combination of both. As such, we may not be able to identify problems causing low final test yields until our product designs go to the manufacturing stage, which may substantially increase our per unit costs and delay the launch of new products.

 

For example, if Samsung or TSMC experiences manufacturing inefficiencies or encounters disruptions, errors or difficulties during production, we may fail to achieve acceptable final test yields or experience product delivery delays. We cannot guarantee that Samsung and TSMC will be able to develop, obtain or successfully implement process technologies needed to manufacture future generations of our mining machines on a timely basis. Moreover, during the periods in which foundries are implementing new process technologies, their manufacturing facilities may not be fully productive. A substantial delay in the technology transitions to smaller geometry process technologies could have a material and adverse effect on us, particularly if our competitors transition to such technologies before us.

 

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In addition, resolution of yield problems requires cooperation among us, Samsung or TSMC, and packaging and testing partners. We cannot assure you that the cooperation will be successful and that any yield problem can be fixed.

 

If any person, institution or a pool of them acting in concert obtains control of more than 50% of the processing power active on the Bitcoin network, such person, institution or a pool of them could prevent new transactions from gaining confirmations, halt payments between users, and reverse previously completed transactions, which would erode user confidence in Bitcoin

 

If the award of Bitcoins for solving blocks and transaction fees for recording transactions are not sufficiently high to incentivize miners, miners may cease expending processing power to solve blocks. Miners ceasing operations would reduce the collective processing power on the Bitcoin network, which would adversely affect the confirmation process for transactions and make the Bitcoin network more vulnerable to any person, institution or a pool of them which has obtained over 50% control over the computing power on the Bitcoin network. In such event, such person, institution or a pool of them could prevent new transactions from gaining confirmation, halt payments between users, and reverse previously completed transactions. Such changes or any reduction in confidence in the confirmation process or processing power of the Bitcoin network may erode user confidence in Bitcoin, which would decrease the demand for our products.

 

The decentralized nature of Bitcoin may be subject to challenges, which could negatively affect our results of operations

 

A key reason for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to have attracted many new and committed users in a short period of time is its decentralized nature, or the lack of control by a central authority. However, there are divergent views on the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies. For example, there are claims that most of the actual services and businesses built within the Bitcoin ecosystem are in fact centralized since they are run by specific people, in specific locations, with specific computer systems, and that they are susceptible to specific regulations. Individuals, companies or groups, as well as Bitcoin exchanges that control vast amounts of Bitcoin can affect the market price of Bitcoin. Furthermore, mining equipment production and mining pool locations may become centralized. The concerns or skepticism about the decentralized nature of Bitcoin may cause customers to lose confidence in the Bitcoin industry’s prospects. This in turn could adversely affect the market demand for our mining machines and our business. Furthermore, the possibility that a person or a coordinated group of people may gain more than 50% control of the process power active on Bitcoin and be able to manipulate transactions, despite the intended decentralized structure, may also erode confidence in Bitcoin. Our business, prospects and results of operations therefore may adversely be affected by the divergent views on the decentralized nature of Bitcoin.

 

Change of Bitcoin algorithm and mining mechanism may materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations

 

Our ASIC chips are designed for proof-of-work, or POW, mechanism, which the Bitcoin network uses to validate Bitcoin transactions. Many people within the Bitcoin community believe that POW is a foundation within Bitcoin’s code that would not be changed. However, there have been debates on mechanism change to avoid the “de facto control” by a great majority of the network computing power. With the possibility of a change in rule or protocol of the Bitcoin network, if our Bitcoin mining machines cannot be modified to accommodate any such changes, our mining machines will not be able to meet customer demand, and the results of our operations will be significantly affected. For more details, see “—The administrators of the Bitcoin network’s source code could propose amendments to the Bitcoin network’s protocols and software that, if accepted and authorized by the Bitcoin network’s community, could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition” and “—The acceptance of Bitcoin network software patches or upgrades by a significant, but not overwhelming, percentage of the users and miners in the Bitcoin network could result in a “fork” in the blockchain, resulting in the operation of two separate networks that cannot be merged. The existence of forked blockchains could erode user confidence in Bitcoin and could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.”

 

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We face risks associated with the expansion of our blockchain products business operations overseas and if we are unable to effectively manage such risks, our business growth and profitability may be negatively affected

 

We intend to grow our blockchain products business in part by expanding our sales network and operations internationally beyond China. Our expansion plans include possibly establishing an assembly facility and offices for sales, research and development and other operations in the United States and the European Union. However, there are risks associated with such global expansion plans, including:

 

high costs of investment to establish a presence in a new market and manage international operations;

 

competition in unfamiliar markets;

 

foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations;

 

regulatory differences and difficulties in ensuring compliance with multi-national legal requirements and multi-national operations;

 

changes in economic, legal, political or other local conditions in new markets;

 

our limited customer base and limited sales and relationships with international customers;

 

competitors in the overseas markets may be more dominant and have stronger ties with customers and greater financial and other resources;

 

challenges in managing our international sales channels effectively;

 

difficulties in and costs of exporting products overseas while complying with the different commercial, legal and regulatory requirements of the overseas markets in which we offer our products;

 

difficulty in ensuring that our customers comply with the sanctions imposed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, on various foreign states, organizations and individuals;

 

inability to obtain, maintain or enforce intellectual property rights;

 

inability to effectively enforce contractual or legal rights or intellectual property rights in certain jurisdictions under which we operate; and

 

governmental policies favoring domestic companies in certain foreign markets or trade barriers including export requirements, tariffs, taxes and other restrictions and charges. In particular, a worldwide trend in favor of nationalism and protectionist trade policy and the ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China as well as other potential international trade disputes could cause turbulence in international markets. These government policies or trade barriers could increase the prices of our products and make us less competitive in such countries.

 

If we are unable to effectively manage such risks, we may encounter difficulties in our overseas expansion plans and our business, reputation, results of operations and financial condition may be impaired.

 

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We plan to increase our export of mining machines to the United States and the European Union in the future, which may be subject to high tariff rates resulting from protectionism trade policies, and as a result, our future sales volumes, profitability and results of operations will be materially and adversely affected

 

Historically, only a small portion of our mining machines were exported to the United States. Going forward we plan to increase our export of mining machines to the U.S. market. However, the United States and China have recently been involved in controversy over trade barriers in China that have threatened a trade war between these two countries, and have implemented or proposed to implement tariffs on certain imported products. Though the United States had not announced any trade policies that may directly impact the export of our mining machines as of the date of this prospectus, we cannot accurately predict whether any anti-dumping duties, tariffs or quota fees will be imposed on our mining machines by the United States in the future. Any export requirements, tariffs, taxes and other restrictions and charges imposed by the United States on our mining machines could significantly increase our customers’ purchase costs of our mining machines and make our mining machines less competitive in the U.S. market. As a result, our future sales volumes, profitability and results of operations could be adversely affected.

 

In addition, we also intend to increase our export of mining machines to the European Union and expand to other overseas markets such as South East Asia in the future. However, the worldwide populism trend that calls for protectionism trade policy and potential international trade disputes could cause turbulence in the international markets. These government policies or trade barriers could increase the prices of our mining machines and cause us to lose our sales and market share to our competitors in these countries.

 

We may be unable to make the substantial research and development investments that are required to remain competitive in our business

 

Advances in blockchain technology and AI technology have led to increased demand for ICs of higher speed and power efficiency for solving computational problems of increasing complexity. We intend to broaden our product offerings to include other applications. We are committed to investing in new product development in order to stay competitive in our markets. Driven by market demand, we intend to continue to broaden and enhance our product portfolio in order to deliver the most effective products to our customers. Nevertheless, if we are unable to generate enough revenue or raise enough capital to make adequate research and development investments going forward, our product development and relevant research and development initiatives may be restricted or delayed, or we may not be able to keep pace with the latest market trends and satisfy our customers’ needs, which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations. Furthermore, our substantial research and development expenditures may not yield the expected results that enable us to roll out new products, which in turn will harm our prospects and results of operations.

 

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We may fail to anticipate or adapt to technology innovations in a timely manner, or at all

 

The blockchain and telecommunications markets are experiencing rapid technological changes. Failure to anticipate technology innovations or adapt to such innovations in a timely manner, or at all, may result in our products becoming obsolete at sudden and unpredictable intervals. To maintain the relevancy of our products, we have actively invested in product planning and research and development. The process of developing and marketing new products is inherently complex and involves significant uncertainties. There are a number of risks, including the following:

 

our product planning efforts may fail in resulting in the development or commercialization of new technologies or ideas;

 

our research and development efforts may fail to translate new product plans into commercially feasible products;

 

our new technologies or new products may not be well received by consumers;

 

we may not have adequate funding and resources necessary for continual investments in product planning and research and development;

 

our products may become obsolete due to rapid advancements in technology and changes in consumer preferences; and

 

our newly developed technologies may not be protected as proprietary intellectual property rights.

 

Any failure to anticipate the next-generation technology roadmap or changes in customer preferences or to timely develop new or enhanced products in response could result in decreased revenue and market share. In particular, we may experience difficulties with product design, product development, marketing or certification, which could result in excessive research and development expenses and capital expenditure, delays or prevent our introduction of new or enhanced products. Furthermore, our research and development efforts may not yield the expected results, or may prove to be futile due to the lack of market demand.

 

Our blockchain customers rely on a steady and inexpensive power supply for operating mining farms and running mining hardware. Failure to access a large quantity of power at reasonable costs could significantly increase their operating expenses and adversely affect their demand for our mining machines

 

Many of our blockchain customers engage in the cryptocurrency mining business. Cryptocurrency mining consumes a significant amount of energy power to process the computations and cool down the mining hardware. Therefore, a steady and inexpensive power supply is critical to cryptocurrency mining. There can be no assurance that the operations of our blockchain customers will not be affected by power shortages or an increase in energy prices in the future. In particular, the power supply could be disrupted by natural disasters, such as floods, mudslides and earthquakes, or other similar events beyond the control of our customers. Further, certain of our customers may experience power shortages due to seasonal variations in the supply of certain types of power such as hydroelectricity. Power shortages, power outages or increased power prices could adversely affect mining farm businesses of our blockchain customers and reduce the expected market demand for our mining machines significantly. Under such circumstances, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.

 

In addition, as we provide mining machine hosting services to our customers and intend to establish and operate mining farms to provide hosting services for third parties and engage in proprietary Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency mining activities to mine cryptocurrencies for ourselves in the near future, any increase in energy prices or a shortage in power supply in locations where our future mining farms are located may increase our potential mining costs and reduce the expected economic returns from our proprietary mining operation significantly.

 

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We require various approvals, licenses, permits and certifications to operate our business. If we fail to obtain or renew any of these approvals, licenses, permits or certifications, it could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations

 

In accordance with the laws and regulations in the jurisdictions in which we operate, we are required to maintain various approvals, licenses, permits and certifications in order to operate our business or engage in the business we plan to enter into. Complying with such laws and regulations may require substantial expenses, any non-compliance may expose us to liability. In the event of that government authorities consider us to be in non-compliance, we may have to incur significant expenses and divert substantial management time to rectify the incidents. If we fail to obtain all the necessary approvals, licenses, permits and certifications, we may be subject to fines or the suspension of operations of the facilities that do not have the requisite approvals, licenses, permits or certifications, which would adversely affect our reputation, business and results of operations. See “Regulation” for further details on the requisite approvals license permits and certifications.

 

We rely on a limited number of third parties for IC packaging and testing services

 

Fabrication of IC chips requires specialized services to process the silicon wafers into IC chips by packaging them and to test their proper functioning. We rely on a limited number of production partners for such packaging and testing services. We have worked closely with world-class outsourced semiconductor assembly and test, or OSAT, companies on a limited number of specialized production partners exposes us to a number of risks, including difficulties in finding alternate suppliers, capacity shortages or delays, lack of control or oversight in timing, quality or costs, and misuse of our intellectual property. If any such problems arise with our OSAT partners, we may experience delays in our production and delivery timeline, inadequate quality control of our products or excessive costs and expenses. As a result, our financial condition, results of operation, reputation and business may be adversely affected.

 

We have previously made sales to Iran, which is subject to sanctions and other regulations administered by the United States

 

Iran is subject to a comprehensive sanctions program administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, and shipments of products subject to the Export Administration Regulations promulgated by the Bureau of Industry and Security, or BIS, in the Commerce Department are also subject to restrictions. In 2016 and 2017, we engaged in transactions that included the sale and/or delivery of our products to Iran under circumstances that may involve breaches of U.S. sanctions and export control laws. On August 2, 2018, we disclosed these transactions to both OFAC and BIS by our submission of Voluntary Self Disclosures, or VSDs. On January 24, 2019, BIS closed the VSD with a Warning Letter and no penalty. On March 4, 2019, OFAC closed the VSD with a Cautionary Letter and no penalty.

 

While we have implemented internal control measures to mitigate our risk exposure to international sanctions, sanctions laws and regulations are constantly evolving, and new persons and entities are regularly added to the list of Sanctioned Persons. Further, new requirements or restrictions could come into effect which might increase the scrutiny on our business or result in one or more of our business activities being deemed to have violated sanctions. Our business and reputation could be adversely affected if the authorities of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, Australia or any other jurisdictions were to determine that any of our future activities constitutes a violation of the sanctions they impose or provides a basis for a sanctions designation of our group.

 

Cryptocurrencies face significant scaling obstacles that can lead to high fees or slowed transaction settlement times, and attempts to increase the transaction processing capacity may not be effective

 

Many cryptocurrency networks face significant scaling challenges. For example, as of December 31, 2019, Bitcoin network could handle, on average, five to seven transactions per second. A number of solutions have been promoted recently to resolve this problem, including segregated witness, Lightening Network and the introduction of Bitcoin Cash. However, there is no assurance that the cryptocurrencies community will accept these solutions or these solutions will effectively resolve these problems.

 

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As the use of cryptocurrency networks increases without a corresponding increase in throughput of the networks, average fees and settlement times can increase significantly. Bitcoin’s network, for example, has been, at times, at capacity, which has led to very high transaction fees. Increased fees and decreased settlement speeds could preclude certain use cases for Bitcoins (e.g., micropayments), and can reduce demand for and the market price of Bitcoins, which could adversely affect the market demand for our mining machines. There is no guarantee that any of the mechanisms in place or being explored for increasing the scale of settlement of Bitcoin transactions will be effective, or how long they will take to become effective, which could adversely affect the market demand for our mining machines.

 

Cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets, and to a lesser extent, a cryptocurrency blockchain itself, may suffer from hacking and fraud risks, which may adversely erode user confidence in cryptocurrencies and reduce demand for our mining machines

 

Cryptocurrency transactions are entirely digital and, as with any virtual system, face risk from hackers, malware and operational glitches. For example, hackers can target cryptocurrency exchanges, wallets, and custodians to gain unauthorized access to the private keys associated with the wallet addresses where cryptocurrencies are stored. Cryptocurrency transactions and accounts are not insured by any type of government program and cryptocurrency transactions generally are permanent by design of the networks. Certain features of cryptocurrency networks, such as decentralization, the open source protocols, and the reliance on peer-to-peer connectivity, may increase the risk of fraud or cyber-attack by potentially reducing the likelihood of a coordinated response. Cryptocurrencies have suffered from hacking risks and several cryptocurrency exchanges and miners have reported cryptocurrency losses, which highlight concerns over the security of cryptocurrencies and in turn affect the demand and the market price of cryptocurrencies. In addition, while cryptocurrencies use private key encryption to verify owners and register transactions, fraudsters and scammers may attempt to sell false cryptocurrencies. These risks may adversely affect the operation of the cryptocurrency network which would erode user confidence in cryptocurrencies, which would negatively affect demand for our mining machines.

 

The administrators of the Bitcoin network’s source code could propose amendments to the Bitcoin network’s protocols and software that, if accepted and authorized by the Bitcoin network’s community, could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition

 

The Bitcoin network is based on a cryptographic, algorithmic protocol that governs the end-user-to-end-user interactions between computers connected to the Bitcoin network. A loosely organized group can propose amendments to the Bitcoin network’s source code through one or more software upgrades that alter the protocols and software that govern the Bitcoin network and the properties of Bitcoins, including the irreversibility of transactions and limitations on the mining of new Bitcoins. To the extent that a significant majority of the users and miners on the Bitcoin network install such software upgrade(s), the Bitcoin network would be subject to new protocols and software that may render our mining machines less desirable, which in turn may adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. If less than a significant majority of the users and miners on the Bitcoin network install such software upgrade(s), the Bitcoin network could “fork.”

 

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The acceptance of Bitcoin network software patches or upgrades by a significant, but not overwhelming, percentage of the users and miners in the Bitcoin network could result in a “fork” in the blockchain, resulting in the operation of two separate networks that cannot be merged. The existence of forked blockchains could erode user confidence in Bitcoin and could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition

 

Bitcoin is based on open source software and has no official developer or group of developers that formally controls the Bitcoin network. Any individual can download the Bitcoin network software and make any desired modifications, which are proposed to users and miners on the Bitcoin network through software downloads and upgrades. However, miners and users must consent to those software modifications by downloading the altered software or upgrade implementing the changes; otherwise, the changes do not become part of the Bitcoin network. Since the Bitcoin network’s inception, changes to the Bitcoin network have been accepted by the vast majority of users and miners, ensuring that the Bitcoin network remains a coherent economic system. However, a developer or group of developers could potentially propose a modification to the Bitcoin network that is not accepted by a vast majority of miners and users, but that is nonetheless accepted by a substantial population of participants in the Bitcoin network. In such a case, a fork in the blockchain could develop and two separate Bitcoin networks could result, one running the pre-modification software program and the other running the modified version. An example is the introduction of Bitcoin Cash in mid 2017. This kind of split in the Bitcoin network could erode user confidence in the stability of the Bitcoin network, which could negatively affect the demand for our mining machines.

 

Our Bitcoin mining machines use open source software and hardware as their basic controller system, which may subject us to certain risks

 

We use open source software and hardware in our Bitcoin mining machines. For example, our mining machine controller open source software needs to be installed on open source, which serves as the basic controller system for our mining machines, and we expect to continue to use open source software and hardware in the future. We may face claims from others claiming ownership of, or seeking to enforce the terms of, an open source license, including by demanding the release of the open source software, derivative works or our proprietary source code that was developed using such software. These claims could also result in litigation, requiring us to purchase a costly license or to devote additional research and development resources to change our technologies, either of which would have a negative effect on our business and operating results. In addition, if the license terms for the open source software we utilize change, we may be forced to re-engineer or discontinue our solutions or incur additional costs.

 

Cryptocurrency assets and transactions may be subject to further taxation in the future

 

In recent years, the rise of cryptocurrency prices and transaction volume has attracted the attention of tax authorities. As the laws governing cryptocurrencies are still evolving, the tax treatment of cryptocurrencies in various jurisdictions are subject to change. While some countries intend to or have imposed taxation on cryptocurrency assets and transactions, other tax authorities are silent. As there is considerable uncertainty over the taxation of cryptocurrencies, we cannot guarantee that the cryptocurrency assets and transactions denominated in cryptocurrencies will not be subject to further taxation in the future, including but not limited to additional taxes and increased tax rate. These events could reduce the economic return of cryptocurrency and increase the holding costs of cryptocurrency assets, which could materially and adversely affect the businesses and financial performances of our blockchain customers engaging in cryptocurrency mining businesses, and in turn could have material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

 

In addition, as we intend to establish operating mining farms, which will allow us to engage in both mining machine hosting services for third parties and proprietary Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency mining activities to mine cryptocurrencies for ourselves in the near future, these events could also reduce the expected economic returns from our proprietary mining operation significantly.

 

We had historically experienced decrease in our telecommunications business and may be unable to continue to operate our telecommunications business successfully

 

For the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2019, revenues from our telecommunications business were US$3.7 million and US$3.3 million, respectively, and our telecommunications business as a percentage of revenues increased from 1.2% for 2018 to 3.1% for 2019. Our telecommunications business will likely continue to be driven by the development of the communications industry in China, government policies, technological changes, user preference, and many other factors beyond our control. There is no guarantee that we will be able to maintain the competitiveness of our products or continue to operate our telecommunications business successfully as a key source of revenue.

 

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Any disruption in our business relationship with our major telecommunications products customers as a result of market consolidation or otherwise will adversely affect our sales and market share in the telecommunications market

 

The telecommunications industry has experienced, and may continue to experience significant consolidation. The merger and expansion of participants will enable them to maximize their economies of scale to provide more competitive prices and invest a larger amount of resources into research and development. Our telecommunication products are primarily sold to major telecommunications service providers and institutional customers in China. Consolidation of our customers may mean that we could lose out in price and non-price competition and lead to a significant reduction of market share. As a result, our business and results of operations in the telecommunications market could be materially and adversely affected.

 

We typically engage third-party agents to manage certain aspects of our business dealings with telecommunications products customers, and our business relationship with them may be adversely affected by any actual or perceived misconduct of our agents, over whom we have limited control. For example, in 2018, a local court in China convicted an employee of a major telecommunications products customer for taking bribes from a group of business partners, including our agents, and as a result, we have been blacklisted by such customer until the end of 2020. Any future disruption of our business relationship with major telecommunications products customers could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

The telecommunications industry is subject to extensive and evolving laws and regulations

 

We may be directly or indirectly affected by changes in government regulations relating to the telecommunications and broadcast industries in the PRC. Failure to comply with the relevant laws and regulations could subject us to severe penalties, which could have a significant impact on our cash flow. Moreover, the change of laws and regulations may render our current products illegal and require us to invest additional resources into the research and development of new products in compliance with the laws. As a result, our business and results of operations may be adversely affected.

 

Our customers are also subject to laws and regulations applicable to the telecommunications and broadcast industries in the PRC. As they change their products to adapt to any change of telecommunications and broadcast laws, this may also require us to modify our products to fit their new products. Such modified or newly adopted laws and regulations could, directly or indirectly, affect the pricing, distribution and required standards of our telecommunications products and services and may have a material adverse impact on our business.

 

If we fail to maintain an effective quality control system, our business could be materially and adversely affected

 

We place great emphasis on product quality and adhere to stringent quality control measures and have obtained quality control certifications for our products. To meet our customers’ requirements and expectations for the quality and safety of our products, we have adopted a stringent quality control system to ensure that every step of the production process is strictly monitored and managed. Failure to maintain an effective quality control system or to obtain or renew our quality standards certifications may result in a decrease in demand for our products or cancellation or loss of purchase orders from our customers. Moreover, our reputation could be impaired. As a result, our business and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 

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The quality of our products and services relies on third party suppliers and service providers we engage. If we fail to provide satisfactory services or maintain their service levels, it could materially and adversely affect our business, reputation, financial condition and results of operations

 

We rely on third-party suppliers and service providers to provide quality products and services to customers, and our brand and reputation may be harmed by actions taken by them that are beyond our control. Despite the measures we have taken to ensure the quality of products and services provided by third-party suppliers and service providers, to the extent that there are manufacturing defects beyond our control, or our third-party suppliers and service providers are unable to maintain the efficiency of their production facilities, supply sufficient components or raw materials in a timely manner, or provide satisfactory services to our customers, we may suffer reputational damage, and our brand image, business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

Our production facilities may be unable to maintain efficiency, encounter problems in ramping up production or otherwise have difficulty meeting our production requirements

 

Our future growth will depend upon our ability to maintain efficient operations at our existing production facilities and our ability to expand our production capacity as needed. The average utilization rate of our SMT production lines for 2018 and 2019 was 85.6% and 81.7%, respectively. The utilization rate of our production facilities depends primarily on the demand for our products and the availability and maintenance of our equipment but may also be affected by other factors, such as the availability of employees, a stable supply of electricity, seasonal factors and changes in environmental laws and regulations. In order to meet our customers’ demands and advancements in technology, we maintain and upgrade our equipment periodically. If we are unable to maintain our production facilities’ efficiency, we may be unable to fulfill our purchase orders in a timely manner, or at all. This would negatively impact our reputation, business and results of operations.

 

As we continue to grow and expand our business, we expect to acquire additional production lines and possibly a new production facility to increase our production capacity. If we are unable to acquire the necessary equipment or production facility at an acceptable price, or at all, we may not be successful in achieving our business expansion plans.

 

We have not obtained the construction works commencement permit and the real property ownership certificate for our production facility in Wuhai, and as a result, our production activities, business, results of operations and prospects may be materially and adversely affected if we are required to rectify this incident

 

To construct a production facility, we must obtain permits, licenses, certificates and other approvals from the relevant administrative authorities at various stages of land acquisition and construction. Obtaining such approvals may require substantial expense, and any non-compliance may expose us to liability.

 

As of the date of this prospectus, we have not obtained the construction works commencement permit for the construction work carried out in our production facility in Wuhai, and as a result, we had not obtained the real property ownership certificate for this production facility. As advised by our PRC legal advisors, we may be required by relevant PRC government authority to rectify this incident or may be subject to monetary penalties, which may disrupt our schedule of development and production activities to be carried out on this production facility. We are currently in the process of rectifying this incident. Although we do not expect any material obstacle in obtaining the real property ownership certificate for this production facility and the relevant governmental authority permits us to carry out production activities during the period of application for real property ownership certificate, we cannot assure you that we will be able to obtain such certificate as soon as we expected or that we will not be required to suspend production in the future. If there is any delay in obtaining the real property ownership certificate for this production facility, we may be required to suspend our production for a certain period of time or even vacate the relevant property, and as a result, we may experience loss of revenue and may incur significant costs for relocation and therefore our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.

 

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We rely on third-party logistics service providers to deliver our products. Disruption in logistics may prevent us from meeting customer demand and our business, results of operations and financial condition may suffer as a result

 

We engage third-party logistics service providers to deliver the ICs from our production partners to our assembly plant and our products from our warehouses to our customers. Disputes with or termination of our contractual relationships with one or more of our logistics service providers could result in delayed delivery of products or increased costs. There can be no assurance that we can continue or extend relationships with our current logistics service providers on terms acceptable to us, or that we will be able to establish relationships with new logistics service providers to ensure accurate, timely and cost-efficient delivery services. If we are unable to maintain or develop good relationships with our preferred logistics service providers, it may inhibit our ability to offer products in sufficient quantities, on a timely basis, or at prices acceptable to our consumers. If there is any breakdown in our relationships with our preferred logistics service providers, we cannot assure you that no interruptions in our product delivery would occur or that they would not materially and adversely affect our business, prospects and results of operations.

 

As we do not have any direct control over these logistics service providers, we cannot guarantee their quality of service. In addition, services provided by these logistics service providers could be interrupted by unforeseen events beyond our control, such as poor handling provided by these logistics service providers, natural disasters, pandemics, adverse weather conditions, riots and labor strikes. If there is any delay in delivery, damage to products or any other issue, we may lose customers and sales and our brand image may be tarnished.

 

We face intense industry competition

 

As a fabless IC design company in the blockchain hardware industry, we operate in a highly competitive environment. Our competitors include companies that may have a larger market share, greater brand recognition, broader international customer base, greater financial resources or other competitive advantages. We anticipate that competition will increase as cryptocurrencies gain greater acceptance and more players join the market. Furthermore, we anticipate encountering new competition as we expand our sales and operations to new locations geographically and into wider applications of blockchain, cryptocurrency mining and mining farm operations. We also compete in the communication network devices industry in China with respect to our telecommunications business. Some of our competitors in this industry include larger, more well-established companies with greater economies of scale and more bargaining power with suppliers.

 

Strong competition in the market may require us to lower our prices, increase our sales and marketing expenses or otherwise invest greater resources to maintain or gain market share as needed to adequately compete. Such efforts may negatively impact our profitability. If we are unable to effectively adapt to changes or developments in the competitive landscape, our business, financial conditions and results of operations may be adversely affected.

 

We may encounter difficulties in recruiting and retaining key personnel

 

Our future growth and success depend to a significant extent on the continuing service and contribution of our engineers and senior management personnel. Many of these key personnel are highly skilled and experienced and are difficult to recruit and retain, particularly as we seek to expand our business with respect to the mining machines. Competition for recruiting qualified personnel is intense, and recruiting personnel with the combination of skills and attributes required to execute our business strategy may be difficult, time-consuming and expensive. As a result, the loss of any key personnel or failure to recruit, train or retain qualified personnel could have a significant negative impact on our operations.

 

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We have and may increasingly become a target for public scrutiny, including complaints to regulatory agencies, negative media coverage, and malicious allegations, all of which could severely damage our reputation and materially and adversely affect our business and prospects

 

We have been a target for public scrutiny, including complaints to regulatory agencies, negative media coverage, and malicious allegations. For example, in October 2018, a group of individuals initiated a complaint against one of our blockchain customers, alleging that the funds that this customer used to purchase mining machines from Zhejiang Ebang Communication Technology Co., Ltd., or Zhejiang Ebang, one of our PRC subsidiaries, were illegal proceeds from commercial fraud committed by this customer. Although we believe that these allegations are not true, negative publicity surrounding this incident had adversely affected our reputation. Certain features of cryptocurrency networks, such as decentralization, independence from sovereignty and anonymity of transactions, create the possibility of heightened attention from the public, regulators and the media. Heightened regulatory and public concerns over us and cryptocurrency-related issues may subject us to additional legal and social responsibilities and increased scrutiny and negative publicity over these issues, due to our leading position in the industry. From time to time, these allegations, regardless of their veracity, may result in consumer dissatisfaction, public protests or negative publicity, which could result in government inquiry or substantial harm to our brand, reputation and operations.

 

Moreover, as our business expands and grows, both organically and through acquisitions of and investments in other businesses, domestically and internationally, we may be exposed to heightened public scrutiny in jurisdictions where we already operate as well as in new jurisdictions where we may operate. There is no assurance that we would not become a target for regulatory or public scrutiny in the future or that scrutiny and public exposure would not severely damage our reputation as well as our business and prospects.

 

We may face difficulties in protecting our intellectual property rights

 

We rely on our intellectual property rights, in particular, our patents, software copyrights and our registered IC layout designs of our ASIC chips. Even though we have successfully registered certain of our intellectual property rights in the PRC, it may be possible for a third party to imitate or use our intellectual property rights without authorization. Additionally, we have developed and utilized some intellectual property that has not been registered. If a third party misuses or misappropriates our intellectual property, we may not be able to easily differentiate our products from the others in the market. As a result, we may be forced into an adverse price competition that reduces our profit margin. As we develop new technologies, we will need to continue to apply for intellectual property rights protections. There is no guarantee that we will be able to obtain valid and enforceable intellectual property rights in the PRC or in other relevant jurisdictions as needed. Even when we are able to obtain such protections, there is no guarantee that we will be able to effectively enforce our rights.

 

In this respect, we may incur expenses and efforts to monitor and enforce our intellectual property rights. Infringement of our intellectual property rights and the resulting diversion of resources to protect such rights through litigation or other means could also adversely affect our profitability.

 

Third parties have claimed and may, from time to time, assert or claim that we infringed their intellectual property rights and any failure to protect our intellectual property rights could have a material adverse impact on our business

 

We operate in an industry where players own a large number of patents and other intellectual property rights that are material to operations and will vigorously pursue, protect and defend these rights. Our competitors or other third parties may allege to own intellectual property rights and interests that could potentially conflict with our own. It is difficult to monitor all of the patent applications and other intellectual property rights protection registrations or applications that may be filed in the PRC or in other relevant jurisdictions. If we offer products that may potentially infringe on such pending applications and the applications are granted, third parties may initiate intellectual infringement claims against us. For example, we are currently involved in an ongoing civil litigation claim against us and four other defendants in relation to potential infringement of intellectual property rights.

 

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As we expand our operations with new products and into new markets, the chances of encountering infringement claims by third parties will increase. We may incur substantial costs in defending or settling such disputes and such actions could divert significant resources and management attention. If any such claim against us is successful, we may not have a legal right to continue to manufacture and sell the relevant products that are found to have incorporated the disputed intellectual property. The success of such claims may also result in an increase in our costs, including additional royalties, licensing fees or further research and development costs to develop non-infringing alternatives, and negatively affect our profitability. Moreover, such claims, whether successful or not, may cause significant damage to our reputation and a loss of customers, as a result of which our business and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 

Product defects resulting in a large-scale product recall or product liability claims against us could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and reputation

 

We manufacture products in accordance with internationally accepted quality standards and specifications provided by our customers. However, we cannot assure you that all products produced by us are free of defects. Consequently, any product defects identified by our customers or end users might erode our reputation and negatively affect our customer relationships and future business. Product defects may also result in product returns and large-scale product recalls or product liability claims against us for substantial damages. For example, we are currently involved in an ongoing lawsuit against us in relation to our sales of mining machines to an individual customer who alleged that, among other things, our products did not meet advertised performance and product quality specifications. See “Business—Legal Proceedings.” Such claims, irrespective of the outcomes or the merits, would likely be time-consuming and costly to defend and could divert significant resources and management attention. Furthermore, even if we are able to defend any such claim successfully, we cannot assure you that our customers will not lose confidence in our products or that our future relationships with our customers will not be damaged. As a result, our business, results of operations, reputation and brand image could be materially and adversely affected by any product defects.

 

If we are unable to maintain or enhance our brand recognition, our business, results of operations and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected

 

Maintaining and enhancing the recognition, image and acceptance of our brand are important to our ability to differentiate our products from and to compete effectively with our peers. Our brand image, however, could be jeopardized if we fail to maintain high product quality, pioneer and keep pace with evolving technology trends, or timely fulfill the orders for our products. If we fail to promote our brand or to maintain or enhance our brand recognition and awareness among our customers, or if we are subject to events or negative allegations affecting our brand image or the publicly perceived position of our brand, our business, operating results and financial condition could be adversely affected.

 

Power shortages, labor disputes and other factors may result in constraints on our production activities

 

Historically, we have not experienced constraints on our production activities, including at our assembly plant, due to power shortages, labor disputes or other factors. However, there can be no assurance that our operations will not be affected by power shortages, labor disputes or other factors in the future, thereby causing material production disruptions and delays in our delivery schedule. In such event, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.

 

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Cyber-security incidents, including data security breaches or computer viruses, could harm our business by disrupting our delivery of services, damaging our reputation or exposing us to liability

 

We receive, process, store and transmit, often electronically, the data of our customers and others, much of which is confidential. Unauthorized access to our computer systems or stored data could result in the theft, including cyber-theft, or improper disclosure of confidential information, and the deletion or modification of records could cause interruptions in our operations. These cyber-security risks increase when we transmit information from one location to another, including over the Internet or other electronic networks. Despite the security measures we have implemented, our facilities, systems and procedures, and those of our third-party service providers, may be vulnerable to security breaches, acts of vandalism, software viruses, misplaced or lost data, programming or human errors or other similar events which may disrupt our delivery of services or expose the confidential information of our customers and others. Any security breach involving the misappropriation, loss or other unauthorized disclosure or use of confidential information of our customers or others, whether by us or a third party, could subject us to civil and criminal penalties, have a negative impact on our reputation, or expose us to liability to our customers, third parties or government authorities. We are not aware of such breaches to date. Any of these developments could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

If we suffer failure or disruption in our information systems, our ability to effectively manage our business operations could be adversely affected

 

We use information systems to obtain, process, analyze and manage data crucial to our business such as our enterprise resource planning system. We use these systems to, among other things, monitor the daily operations of our business, maintain operating and financial data, manage our distribution network as well as manage our research and development activities, production operations and quality control systems. Any system damage or failure that interrupts data input, retrieval or transmission or increases service time could disrupt our normal operations. In particular, our operations could be disrupted if such damage or failure includes any security breach caused by hacking or cyber-security incidents, involves efforts to gain unauthorized access to our information or systems, or causes intentional malfunctions, loss or corruption of data, software or hardware, the intentional or inadvertent transmission of computer viruses and similar events or third-party actions. There can be no assurance that we will be able to effectively handle a failure of our information systems, or that we will be able to restore our operational capacity in a timely manner to avoid disruption to our business. The occurrence of any of these events could adversely affect our ability to effectively manage our business operations and negatively impact our reputation.

 

We may be subject to liability in connection with industrial accidents at our manufacturing facilities

 

Due to the nature of our operations, we are subject to the risks of potential liability associated with industrial accidents at our production facilities. We cannot assure you that industrial accidents, whether due to malfunction of equipment or other reasons, will not occur in the future at our production facilities. Under such circumstances, we may be subject to employee claims for compensation or penalties imposed by relevant government authorities and may suffer damage to our reputation. In addition, we may experience interruptions in our operations or may be required to change the manner in which we operate, as a result of governmental investigations or the implementation of safety measures due to accidents. Any of the foregoing events could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We currently do not have insurance coverage covering all risks related to our business and operations

 

We do not maintain insurance policies covering all of our business risks, such as risks relating to properties, receivables, goods in transit and public liability. There is no assurance that the insurance coverage we do have would be sufficient to cover our potential losses. See the section headed “Business—Insurance” for more information on the insurance policies maintained by us. In the event there is any damage to these items, we would have to pay for the difference ourselves where our cash flow and liquidity could be negatively affected.

 

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If we fail to comply with labor, work safety or environmental regulations, we could be exposed to penalties, fines, suspensions or action in other forms

 

Our operations are subject to the labor, work safety and environmental protection laws and regulations promulgated by the PRC government. These laws and regulations require us to pay social insurance, maintain safe working conditions and adopt effective measures to control and properly dispose of solid waste and other environmental pollutants. We could be exposed to penalties, fines, suspensions or actions in other forms if we fail to comply with these laws and regulations. The laws and regulations in the PRC may be amended from time to time and changes in those laws and regulations may cause us to incur additional costs in order to comply with the more stringent rules. In the event that changes to existing laws and regulations require us to incur additional compliance costs or require costly changes to our production process, our costs could increase and we may suffer a decline in sales for certain products, as a result of which our business, financial conditions and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 

Bitcoin mining activities are energy-intensive, which may restrict the geographic locations of miners and have a negative environmental impact

 

Bitcoin mining activities are inherently energy-intensive and electricity costs account for a significant portion of the overall mining costs. The availability and cost of electricity will restrict the geographic locations of mining activities. Any shortage of electricity supply or increase in electricity cost in a jurisdiction may negatively impact the viability and the expected economic return for Bitcoin mining activities in that jurisdiction, which may in turn decrease the sales of our Bitcoin mining machines in that jurisdiction.

 

In addition, the significant consumption of electricity may have a negative environmental impact, including contribution to climate change, which may give rise to public opinion against allowing the use of electricity for Bitcoin mining activities or government measures restricting or prohibiting the use of electricity for Bitcoin mining activities. Any such development in the jurisdictions where we sell our Bitcoin mining machines could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Our business operations and international expansion are subject to geopolitical risks

 

Our business operation and international expansion is subject to geopolitical risks. We mainly rely on our production partners in South Korea and Taiwan, including Samsung and TSMC, for the fabrication, testing and packaging of our ASICs. Any significant deterioration in the cross-strait relationship may have a negative impact on the ability of our production partners in Taiwan to fulfill their contractual obligations and ship the ASICs to us, which could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

In addition, there might be significant changes to United States trade policies, treaties and tariffs, including trade policies and tariffs regarding the PRC. China may respond by imposing retaliatory trade measures against the United States. In 2018, the United States was the largest country outside the PRC by sales contribution to which we sold our Bitcoin mining machines. Further, we rely on suppliers in the United States for the supply of certain equipment and tools, such as our electronic design automation, a development tool. If the United States restricts or prohibits the importation of ASICs or related products from China, our international expansion may be negatively affected. If China imposes retaliatory trade measures that affect the importation of the equipment and tools we require, we may face difficulty in our production. In both cases, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.

 

Increases in labor costs and enforcement of stricter labor laws and regulations in the PRC and our additional payments of statutory employee benefits may adversely affect our business and profitability

 

The average wage in China has increased in recent years and is expected to continue to grow. The average wage level for our employees has also increased in recent years. We expect that our labor costs, including wages and employee benefits, will continue to increase. Unless we are able to pass on these increased labor costs to our customers, our profitability and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

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In addition, we have been subject to stricter regulatory requirements in terms of entering into labor contracts with our employees and paying various statutory employee benefits, including pensions, housing funds, medical insurance, work-related injury insurance, unemployment insurance and maternity insurance to designated government agencies for the benefit of our employees. Pursuant to the PRC Labor Contract Law and its implementation rules, employers are subject to stricter requirements in terms of signing labor contracts, minimum wages, paying remuneration, determining the term of employee’s probation and unilaterally terminating labor contracts. In the event that we decide to terminate some of our employees or otherwise change our employment or labor practices, the PRC Labor Contract Law and its implementation rules may limit our ability to effect those changes in a desirable or cost-effective manner, which could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

Pursuant to PRC laws and regulations, companies registered and operating in China are required to apply for social insurance registration and housing fund deposit registration within 30 days of their establishment and to pay for their employees different social insurance including pension insurance, medical insurance, work-related injury insurance, unemployment insurance and maternity insurance to the extent required by law. We have not fully paid social insurance and housing provident funds for all of our employees due to inconsistency in implementation or interpretation of the relevant PRC laws and regulations among government authorities in the PRC and, in some cases, voluntary decisions by the relevant employees. Recently, as the PRC government enhanced its enforcement measures relating to social insurance collection, we may be required to make up the contributions for our employees, and may be further subjected to late fees payment and administrative fines, which may materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. As the interpretation and implementation of labor-related laws and regulations are still evolving, we cannot assure you that our current employment practices do not and will not violate labor-related laws and regulations in China, which may subject us to labor disputes or government investigations. In addition, we may incur additional expenses in order to comply with such laws and regulations, which may adversely affect our business and profitability.

 

The determination of the fair value changes of our financial assets measured at fair value through profit or loss requires the use of estimates that are based on unobservable inputs, and therefore inherently involves a certain degree of uncertainty

 

We use significant unobservable inputs, such as discount rate, expected rate of return, expected volatility and risk-free interest rate, in valuing our financial assets measured at fair value through profit or loss including bank wealth management products. The fair value change of financial assets at fair value through profit or loss may affect our financial position and results of operations. Accordingly, such determination requires us to make significant estimates, which may be subject to material changes, and therefore inherently involves a certain degree of uncertainty. Factors beyond our control such as general economic condition and changes in market interest rates may influence and cause adverse changes to the estimates we use and thereby affect the fair value of our financial assets measured at fair value through profit or loss, which in return may adversely affect our results of operation and financial condition.

 

Our deferred tax assets are subject to accounting uncertainties

 

In the application of our accounting policies, our management is required to make judgments, estimates and assumptions about the carrying amounts of certain assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. The estimates and associated assumptions are based on historical experience and other factors that are considered to be relevant. Therefore, actual results may differ from these accounting estimates. As of December 31, 2018 and 2019, the carrying value of our total deferred tax assets was US$0.6 million and US$0.5 million, respectively. Based on our accounting policies, deferred tax assets are recognized to the extent that it is probable that future taxable profits will be available against which the temporary differences can be utilized. The realization of a deferred tax asset mainly depends on our management’s estimate as to whether sufficient future profits will be available in the future. Management’s assessment is constantly reviewed and additional deferred tax assets are recognized if it becomes probable that future taxable profits will allow the deferred tax assets to be recovered. If sufficient future taxable profits are not expected to be generated or are less than expected, a material reversal of deferred tax assets may arise in future periods.

 

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Any change or discontinuation of preferential tax treatment we currently enjoy would increase our tax charge

 

Our PRC subsidiaries are subject to the PRC corporate income tax at a standard rate of 25% on their taxable income, but in 2018 and 2019, preferential tax treatment was available to three of our PRC subsidiaries. Zhejiang Ebang and Hangzhou Dewang were both recognized as “High-tech Enterprises,” which allowed them to apply an income tax rate of 15% for 2018 and 2019. Zhejiang Ebang Information Technology Co., Ltd., or Ebang IT, was qualified as a software enterprise in 2018, and thus was entitled to a five-year tax holiday (full exemption for the first two years and a 50% reduction in the standard income tax rate for the following three years) in 2018 until its software enterprise qualification ended in 2019.

 

We cannot assure you that the PRC policies on preferential tax treatments will not change or that the current preferential tax treatments we enjoy or will be entitled to enjoy will not be canceled. Moreover, we cannot assure you that our PRC subsidiaries will be able to renew the same preferential tax treatments upon expiration. If any such change, cancelation or discontinuation of preferential tax treatment occurs, the relevant PRC subsidiaries will be subject to the PRC enterprise income tax, or EIT, at a rate of 25% on taxable income. As a result, the increase in our tax charge could materially and adversely affect our results of operations.

 

Fluctuations in exchange rates could affect our results of operations and reduce the value of your investment

 

We primarily operate in China. Our reporting currency is denominated in U.S. dollars. We are exposed to currency risks primarily through sales and purchases which give rise to receivables, payables and cash balances that are denominated in a currency other than the functional currency of the operations to which the transaction relates. We are therefore subject to the risk of fluctuations in the exchange rate of U.S. dollars against Hong Kong dollars, Renminbi and Euros. The value of U.S. dollars against Hong Kong dollars, Renminbi and Euros fluctuates and is subject to changes resulting from the PRC government’s policies and depends to a large extent on domestic and international economic and political developments, as well as supply and demand in the local market. With the development of the foreign exchange market and progress toward interest rate liberalization and Renminbi internationalization, the PRC government may in the future announce further changes to the exchange rate system, and we cannot assure you that Renminbi will not appreciate or depreciate significantly in value against Hong Kong dollars, U.S dollars or Euros in the future.

 

We incurred a foreign exchange loss of US$0.4 million in 2018 and a foreign exchange gain of US5.7 million in 2019. In 2018 and 2019, we had currency translation losses of US$11.4 million and a gain of US$1.2 million, respectively, recognized in other comprehensive loss. Such currency translation gains or losses resulted from exchange differences on translation of financial statements of our entities using currencies other than U.S. dollars as their functional currencies, net of nil tax.

 

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In addition, we will receive the proceeds from this offering in U.S. dollars. Should Renminbi appreciate against other currencies, the value of the proceeds from this offering and any future financings, which are to be converted from U.S. dollars or other currencies into Renminbi, would be reduced and might accordingly hinder our business development due to the reduced amount of funds raised. On the other hand, in the event of devaluation of Renminbi, the dividend payments of our company, which are to be paid in U.S. dollars after conversion of the distributable profit denominated in Renminbi, would be reduced. Hence, substantial fluctuation in the currency exchange rate of Renminbi may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition and the value of your investment in the ADSs.

 

Changes in international trade policies and international barriers to trade may have an adverse effect on our business and expansion plans

 

We exported our products to a number of countries outside of the PRC and derive sales from exporting to those countries, and we intend to continue to sell our current and future products to countries outside of the PRC. Further, we rely on certain overseas suppliers, including suppliers in the United States, for the supply of certain equipment and tools, such as our electronic design automation, a development tool. Changes to trade policies, treaties and tariffs in or affecting the jurisdictions in which we operate and to which we sell our products, or the perception that these changes could occur, could adversely affect the financial and economic conditions in those jurisdictions, as well as our international sales, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Any global systemic economic and financial crisis could negatively affect our business, results of operations, and financial condition

 

Any prolonged slowdown in the Chinese or global economy may have a negative impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition. For example, the global financial markets have experienced significant disruptions since 2008 and the United States, Europe and other economies have experienced periods of recession. The recovery from the lows of 2008 and 2009 has been uneven and there are new challenges, including the escalation of the European sovereign debt crisis from 2011 and the slowdown of the PRC’s economic growth since 2012, which may continue. The recent market panics over the global outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19 and the drop in oil price have materially and negatively affected the global financial markets in March 2020, which may cause a potential slowdown of the world’s economy. See “—Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry—The recent global coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak has caused significant disruptions in our business, which we expect will materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.” Additionally, there is considerable uncertainty over the long-term effects of the expansionary monetary and fiscal policies adopted by the central banks and financial authorities of some of the world’s leading economies, including the United States and the PRC. There have also been concerns over unrest in Ukraine, the Middle East and Africa, which have resulted in volatility in financial and other markets. There have also been concerns over the United Kingdom leaving the European Union as well as the significant potential changes to United States trade policies, treaties and tariffs, including trade policies and tariffs regarding the PRC. There have also been concerns about the economic effect of the tensions in the relationship between the PRC and surrounding Asian countries. There were and could be in the future a number of domino effects from such turmoil on our business, including significant decreases in orders from our customers; insolvency of key suppliers resulting in product delays; inability of customers to obtain credit to finance purchases of our products and/or customer insolvencies; and counterparty failures negatively impacting our operations. Any systemic economic or financial crisis could cause revenues for the semiconductor industry as a whole to decline dramatically and could materially and adversely affect our results of operations.

 

We face risks of natural disasters, acts of God and occurrence of epidemics, which could severely disrupt our business operations

 

Natural disasters, epidemics and other acts of God which are beyond our control may adversely affect the economy, infrastructure and livelihood of the people in China and may materially and adversely affect our operations as our facilities and offices are located in China. Material damage to, or the loss of, such facilities due to fire, severe weather, flood, earthquake, or other acts of God or cause may not be adequately covered by proceeds of our insurance coverage and could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations. Any outbreaks of contagious disease, acts of war or terrorist attacks may cause damage or disruption to our business, our employees and our markets, any of which could adversely impact our business and results of operations.

 

If we grant employees share options or other equity incentives in the future, our net income could be adversely affected.

 

We [have] adopted our 2020 Share Incentive Plan, effective upon the completion of this offering, and may grant options after its effectiveness. We are required to account for share-based compensation expenses in accordance with Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standards Codification Topic 718, Compensation—Stock Compensation, which generally requires a company to recognize, as an expense, the fair value of share options and other equity incentives to employees based on the fair value of equity awards on the date of the grant, with the compensation expense recognized over the period in which the recipient is required to provide service in exchange for the equity award. If we grant options or other equity incentives in the future, we could incur significant compensation charges and our results of operations could be adversely affected.

 

If we fail to implement and maintain an effective system of internal controls, we may be unable to accurately or timely report our results of operations or prevent fraud, and investor confidence and the market price of our ADSs may be materially and adversely affected

 

Prior to this offering, we have been a private company with limited accounting and financial reporting personnel and other resources to address our internal controls and procedures. In connection with the audit of our consolidated financial statements as of and for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2019, we and our independent registered public accounting firm identified two material weaknesses and certain other significant deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting. As defined in the standards established by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board of the United States, a “material weakness” is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the company’s annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. The material weaknesses identified are related to (1) lack of sufficient controls in place to manage main raw materials purchase which led to significant inventory write-down and (2) lack of well-established credit policy for customers in place which led to significant accounts receivable and revenue write-down. We intend to implement a number of measures to address these material weaknesses and significant deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting. We cannot assure you, however, that these measures may fully address these deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting or that we may conclude that they have been fully remedied.

 

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Upon the completion of this offering, we will become a public company in the United States subject to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or Section 404, will require that we include a report of management on our internal control over financial reporting in our annual report on Form 20-F beginning with our second annual report on Form 20-F after becoming a public company. In addition, once we cease to be an “emerging growth company” as such term is defined in the JOBS Act, our independent registered public accounting firm must attest to and report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Our management may conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is not effective. Moreover, even if our management concludes that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, our independent registered public accounting firm, after conducting its own independent testing, may issue a report that is qualified if it is not satisfied with our internal controls or the level at which our controls are documented, designed, operated or reviewed, or if it interprets the relevant requirements differently from us. In addition, after we become a public company, our reporting obligations may place a significant strain on our management, operational and financial resources and systems for the foreseeable future. We may be unable to timely complete our evaluation testing and any required remediation. During the course of documenting and testing our internal control procedures, in order to satisfy the requirements of Section 404, we may identify other weaknesses and deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting.

 

In addition, if we fail to maintain the adequacy of our internal control over financial reporting, as these standards are modified, supplemented or amended from time to time, we may not be able to conclude on an ongoing basis that we have effective internal control over financial reporting in accordance with Section 404. Generally, if we fail to achieve and maintain an effective internal control environment, we could suffer material misstatements in our financial statements and fail to meet our reporting obligations, which would likely cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information. This could in turn limit our access to capital markets, harm our results of operations, and lead to a decline in the trading price of our ADSs. Additionally, ineffective internal control over financial reporting could expose us to increased risk of fraud or misuse of corporate assets and subject us to potential delisting from the stock exchange on which we list, regulatory investigations and civil or criminal sanctions. We may also be required to restate our financial statements from prior periods.

 

Risks Relating to Conducting Business in China

 

Changes in China’s economic, political or social conditions or government policies could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition

 

Substantially all of our revenues were and, in the future, are expected to be derived in China, and most of our operations, including all of our manufacturing, is conducted in China. Accordingly, our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition may be influenced to a significant degree by political, economic and social conditions in China generally and by continued economic growth in China as a whole. The Chinese economy differs from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, including the degree of government involvement, level of development, growth rate, control of foreign exchange and allocation of resources. Although the PRC government has implemented measures emphasizing the utilization of market forces for economic reform, the reduction of state ownership of productive assets and the establishment of improved corporate governance in business enterprises, a substantial portion of productive assets in China is still owned by the government. In addition, the Chinese government continues to play a significant role in regulating industry development by imposing industrial policies. The Chinese government also exercises significant control over China’s economic growth through strategically allocating resources, controlling the payment of foreign currency-denominated obligations, setting monetary policy and providing preferential treatment to particular industries or companies.

 

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While the Chinese economy has experienced significant growth over the past decades, growth has been uneven, both geographically and among various sectors of the economy, and the rate of growth has been slowing since 2012. Any adverse changes in economic conditions in China, in the policies of the Chinese government or in the laws and regulations in China could have a material adverse effect on the overall economic growth of China. As a result, changes in economic conditions and government policies could adversely affect our business and operating results, lead to reduction in demand for our services and adversely affect our competitive position.

 

Uncertainties in the interpretation and enforcement of PRC laws and regulations could limit the legal protections available to you and us

 

The PRC legal system is a civil law system based on written statutes. Unlike the common law system, prior court decisions may be cited for reference but have limited precedential value. Our PRC legal system is evolving rapidly, but its current slate of laws may not be sufficient to cover all aspects of the economic activities in China, including such activities that relate to or have an impact on our business. Implementation and interpretations of laws, regulations and rules are not always undertaken in a uniform matter and enforcement of these laws, regulations and rules involves uncertainties.

 

From time to time, we may have to resort to administrative and court proceedings to enforce our legal rights. However, since PRC administrative and court authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing statutory and contractual terms, it may be more difficult to evaluate the outcome of administrative and court proceedings and the level of protection we enjoy than in more developed legal systems. Furthermore, the PRC legal system is based in part on government policies and internal rules (some of which are not published in a timely manner or at all) that may have a retroactive effect. As a result, we may not always be aware of any potential violation of these policies and rules until sometime after the violation. Such uncertainties, including unpredictability towards the scope and effect of our contractual, property (including intellectual property) and procedural rights, and any failure to respond to changes in the regulatory environment in China could materially and adversely affect our business and impede our ability to continue our operations.

 

A severe or prolonged downturn in China’s economy could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations

 

The global macroeconomic environment is facing challenges, including the end of quantitative easing by the U.S. Federal Reserve, the economic slowdown in the Eurozone since 2014 and the uncertain impact of “Brexit.” The growth of China’s economy has slowed down since 2012 and such slowdown may continue. The outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19 in China has resulted in a severe disruption of social and economic activities in China, which may result in a potential slowdown of China’s economy in 2020 and beyond. See “—Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry—The recent global coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak has caused significant disruptions in our business, which we expect will materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.” In addition, there is considerable uncertainty over the long-term effects of the expansionary monetary and fiscal policies adopted by the central banks and financial authorities of some of the world’s leading economies, including the United States and China. There have also been concerns on the relationship between China and other countries, including the surrounding Asian countries, which may potentially result in foreign investors exiting the China market and other economic effects. Economic conditions in China are sensitive to global economic conditions, as well as changes in domestic economic and political policies and the expected or perceived overall economic growth rate in China. For example, sustained tension between the United States and China over trade policies could significantly undermine the stability of the global and China’s economy. See “—We plan to increase our export of mining machines to the United States and the European Union in the future, which may be subject to high tariff rates resulting from protectionism trade policies, and as a result, our future sales volumes, profitability and results of operations will be materially and adversely affected.” Any severe or prolonged slowdown or instability in the global or China’s economy may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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We may be adversely affected by inflation or labor shortage in China

 

In recent years, the PRC economy has experienced periods of rapid expansion and highly fluctuating rates of inflation. During the past ten years, the rate of inflation in China has been as high as 5.9% and as low as -0.7%. While inflation has slowed in recent years with a moderate rate of 1.6% recorded in 2017, it is uncertain when the general price level may increase or decrease sharply in the future. Moreover, the significant economic growth in China has resulted in a general increase in labor costs and shortage of low-cost labor. Inflation may cause our production cost to continue to increase. If we are unable to pass on the increase in production cost to our customers, we may suffer a decrease in profitability and a loss of customers and our results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 

We may be subject to EIT on our worldwide income if our company or any of our subsidiaries were considered a PRC “resident enterprise” under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law, or the EIT Law

 

Under the EIT Law and its implementation rules, enterprises established outside of the PRC with “de facto management bodies” within the PRC are considered a “resident enterprise” and will be subject to EIT at a rate of 25% on their worldwide income. The implementation rules under EIT define the term “de facto management bodies” as “establishments that carry out substantial and overall management and control over the production, operation, personnel, accounting, properties, etc. of an enterprise.” The SAT promulgated the Notice Regarding the Determination of Chinese-Controlled Offshore Incorporated Enterprises as PRC Tax Resident Enterprises on the Basis of De Facto Management Bodies, or Circular 82, on April 22, 2009, which provides certain specific criteria for determining whether the “de facto management body” of a Chinese-controlled offshore incorporated enterprise is located in the PRC. On July 27, 2011, the State Administration of Taxation of the PRC, or the SAT, issued the Measures for Administration of Income Tax of Chinese Controlled Resident Enterprises Incorporated Overseas (Trial), or Circular 45, to supplement Circular 82 and other tax laws and regulations. Circular 45 clarifies certain issues relating to resident status determination. Although Circular 82 and Circular 45 apply only to offshore enterprises controlled by PRC enterprises or PRC group companies and not those controlled by PRC individuals or foreigners, the determining criteria set forth in Circular 82 and Circular 45 may reflect the SAT’s general position on how the “de facto management body” test should be applied in determining the tax resident status of offshore enterprises, regardless of whether they are controlled by PRC enterprises or individuals or foreign enterprises. A substantial majority of our senior management team is located in China. If our company or any of our subsidiaries were considered to be a PRC “resident enterprise,” we would be subject to a EIT at a rate of 25% on our worldwide income.

 

Dividends payable to our foreign investors and gains on the sale of the ADSs or Class A ordinary shares by our foreign investors may become subject to PRC tax

 

Under the EIT Law and its implementation regulations issued by the State Council, a 10% PRC withholding tax is applicable to dividends payable to investors that are non-resident enterprises, which do not have an establishment or place of business in the PRC or which have such establishment or place of business but the dividends are not effectively connected with such establishment or place of business, to the extent such dividends are derived from sources within the PRC. Similarly, any gain realized on the transfer of ADSs or Class A ordinary shares by such investors is also subject to PRC tax at a current rate of 10%, subject to any reduction or exemption set forth in applicable tax treaties or under applicable tax arrangements between jurisdictions, if such gain is regarded as income derived from sources within the PRC. If we are deemed a PRC resident enterprise, dividends paid on our Class A ordinary shares or ADSs, and any gain realized from the transfer of our Class A ordinary shares or ADSs, would be treated as income derived from sources within the PRC and would as a result be subject to PRC taxation. Furthermore, if we are deemed a PRC resident enterprise, dividends payable to individual investors who are non-PRC residents and any gain realized on the transfer of ADSs or Class A ordinary shares by such investors may be subject to PRC tax at a current rate of 20%, subject to any reduction or exemption set forth in applicable tax treaties or under applicable tax arrangements between jurisdictions. If we or any of our subsidiaries established outside China are considered a PRC resident enterprise, it is unclear whether holders of the ADSs or Class A ordinary shares would be able to claim the benefit of income tax treaties or agreements entered into between China and other countries or areas. If dividends payable to our non-PRC investors, or gains from the transfer of the ADSs or Class A ordinary shares by such investors, are deemed as income derived from sources within the PRC and thus are subject to PRC tax, the value of your investment in the ADSs or Class A ordinary shares may decline significantly.

 

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PRC regulations relating to investments in offshore companies by PRC residents may subject our PRC-resident beneficial owners or our PRC subsidiaries to liability or penalties, limit our ability to inject capital into our PRC subsidiaries or limit our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to increase their registered capital or distribute profits

 

In July 2014, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange of the PRC, or SAFE, promulgated the Circular on Relevant Issues Concerning Foreign Exchange Control on Domestic Residents’ Offshore Investment and Financing and Roundtrip Investment through Special Purpose Vehicles, or SAFE Circular 37, which replaces the previous SAFE Circular 75. SAFE Circular 37 requires PRC residents, including PRC individuals and PRC corporate entities, to register with SAFE or its local branches in connection with their direct or indirect offshore investment activities. SAFE Circular 37 is applicable to our shareholders who are PRC residents and may be applicable to any offshore acquisitions that we may make in the future.

 

Under SAFE Circular 37, PRC residents who make, or have prior to the implementation of SAFE Circular 37 made, direct or indirect investments in offshore special purpose vehicles, or SPVs, are required to register such investments with SAFE or its local branches. In addition, any PRC resident who is a direct or indirect shareholder of an SPV, is required to update its registration with the local branch of SAFE with respect to that SPV, to reflect any material change. Moreover, any subsidiary of such SPV in China is required to urge the PRC resident shareholders to update their registration with the local branch of SAFE to reflect any material change. If any PRC resident shareholder of such SPV fails to make the required registration or to update the registration, the subsidiary of such SPV in China may be prohibited from distributing its profits or the proceeds from any capital reduction, share transfer or liquidation to the SPV, and the SPV may also be prohibited from making additional capital contributions into its subsidiaries in China. In February 2015, SAFE promulgated a Notice on Further Simplifying and Improving Foreign Exchange Administration Policy on Direct Investment, or SAFE Notice 13. Under SAFE Notice 13, applications for foreign exchange registration of inbound foreign direct investments and outbound direct investments, including those required under SAFE Circular 37, must be filed with qualified banks instead of SAFE. Qualified banks should examine the applications and accept registrations under the supervision of SAFE. We have used our best efforts to notify PRC residents or entities who directly or indirectly hold shares in our Cayman Islands holding company and who are known to us as being PRC residents to complete the foreign exchange registrations. However, we may not be informed of the identities of all the PRC residents or entities holding direct or indirect interest in our company, nor can we compel our beneficial owners to comply with SAFE registration requirements. We cannot assure you that all other shareholders or beneficial owners of ours who are PRC residents or entities have complied with, and will in the future make, obtain or update any applicable registrations or approvals required by, SAFE regulations. Failure by such shareholders or beneficial owners to comply with SAFE regulations, or failure by us to amend the foreign exchange registrations of our PRC subsidiaries, could subject us to fines or legal sanctions, restrict our overseas or cross-border investment activities, limit our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to make distributions or pay dividends to us or affect our ownership structure, which could adversely affect our business and prospects.

 

Furthermore, as these foreign exchange and outbound investment related regulations are relatively new and their interpretation and implementation has been constantly evolving, it is unclear how these regulations, and any future regulation concerning offshore or cross-border investments and transactions, will be interpreted, amended and implemented by the relevant government authorities. For example, we may be subject to a more stringent review and approval process with respect to our foreign exchange activities, such as remittance of dividends and foreign-currency-denominated borrowings, which may adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. We cannot assure you that we have complied or will be able to comply with all applicable foreign exchange and outbound investment related regulations. In addition, if we decide to acquire a PRC domestic company, we cannot assure you that we or the owners of such company, as the case may be, will be able to obtain the necessary approvals or complete the necessary filings and registrations required by the foreign exchange regulations. This may restrict our ability to implement our acquisition strategy and could adversely affect our business and prospects.

 

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PRC regulation of loans to and direct investment in PRC entities by offshore holding companies and governmental control of currency conversion may delay or prevent us from using the proceeds of this offering to make loans or additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries and its subsidiaries

 

We are an offshore holding company with some of our operations conducted in China. We may make loans to our PRC subsidiaries subject to the approval, registration, and filing with governmental authorities and limitation of amount, or we may make additional capital contributions to our wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries in China. Any loans to our wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries in China, which are treated as foreign-invested enterprises under PRC law, are subject to foreign exchange loan registrations with the National Development and Reform Commission, or the NDRC, and SAFE or its local branches. In addition, a foreign invested enterprise shall use its capital pursuant to the principle of authenticity and self-use within its business scope. The capital of a foreign invested enterprise shall not be used for the following purposes: (1) directly or indirectly used for payment beyond the business scope of the enterprises or the payment prohibited by relevant laws and regulations; (2) directly or indirectly used for investment in securities or investments other than banks’ principal-secured products unless otherwise provided by relevant laws and regulations; (3) the granting of loans to non-affiliated enterprises, except where it is expressly permitted in the business license; and (4) paying the expenses related to the purchase of real estate that is not for self-use (except for the foreign-invested real estate enterprises).

 

In light of the various requirements imposed by PRC regulations on loans to and direct investment in PRC entities by offshore holding companies, we cannot assure you that we will be able to complete the necessary government registrations or obtain the necessary government approvals or filings on a timely basis, if at all, with respect to future loans by us to our PRC subsidiaries or with respect to future capital contributions by us to our PRC subsidiaries. If we fail to complete such registrations or obtain such approvals, our ability to use the proceeds from this offering and to capitalize or otherwise fund our PRC operations may be negatively affected, which could adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

 

We and our shareholders face uncertainties with respect to indirect transfers of equity interests in PRC resident enterprises or other assets attributed to a Chinese establishment of a non-Chinese company, or immovable properties located in China owned by non-Chinese companies

 

In February 2015, SAT issued a Public Notice Regarding Certain Corporate Income Tax Matters on Indirect Transfer of Properties by Non-Tax Resident Enterprises, or SAT Public Notice 7. SAT Public Notice 7 extends its tax jurisdiction to transactions involving transfer of other taxable assets through offshore transfer of a foreign intermediate holding company. In addition, SAT Public Notice 7 provides clear criteria for assessment of reasonable commercial purposes and has introduced safe harbors for internal group restructurings and the purchase and sale of equity through a public securities market. SAT Public Notice 7 also brings challenges to both foreign transferor and transferee (or other person who is obligated to pay for the transfer) of taxable assets. In October 2017, SAT issued the Announcement of the State Administration of Taxation on Issues Concerning the Withholding of Non-resident Enterprise Income Tax at Source, or SAT Bulletin 37, which came into effect on December 1, 2017. The SAT Bulletin 37 further clarifies the practice and procedure of the withholding of non-resident EIT. Where a non-resident enterprise transfers taxable assets indirectly by disposing of the equity interests of an overseas holding company, which is an indirect transfer, the non-resident enterprise as either transferor or transferee, or the PRC entity that directly owns the taxable assets, may report such Indirect Transfer to the relevant tax authority. Using a “substance over form” principle, the PRC tax authority may disregard the existence of the overseas holding company if it lacks a reasonable commercial purpose and was established for the purpose of reducing, avoiding or deferring PRC tax. As a result, gains derived from such indirect transfer other than transfer of Shares of ADSs acquired and sold on public markets may be subject to EIT, and the transferee or other person who is obligated to pay for the transfer is obligated to withhold the applicable taxes, currently at a rate of 10%. Both the transferor and the transferee may be subject to penalties under PRC tax laws if the transferee fails to withhold the taxes and the transferor fails to pay the taxes.

 

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We face uncertainties as to the reporting and other implications of certain past and future transactions that involve PRC taxable assets, such as offshore restructuring, sale of the shares in our offshore subsidiaries and investments. Our company may be subject to filing obligations or taxed if our company is transferor in such transactions, and may be subject to withholding obligations if our company is transferee in such transactions, under SAT Public Notice 7 or SAT Bulletin 37, or both.

 

We are subject to PRC restrictions on currency exchange

 

Some of our revenues and expenses are denominated in Renminbi. The Renminbi is currently convertible under the “current account,” which includes dividends, trade and service-related foreign exchange transactions, but not under the “capital account,” which includes foreign direct investment and loans, including loans we may secure from our onshore subsidiaries. Currently, certain of our PRC subsidiaries may purchase foreign currency for settlement of “current account transactions,” including payment of dividends to us, without the approval of the SAFE by complying with certain procedural requirements. However, the relevant PRC governmental authorities may limit or eliminate our ability to purchase foreign currencies in the future for current account transactions. Foreign exchange transactions under the capital account remain subject to limitations and require approvals from, or registration with, the SAFE and other relevant PRC governmental authorities. Since a part of our future net income and cash flow will be denominated in Renminbi, any existing and future restrictions on currency exchange may limit our ability to utilize cash generated in Renminbi to fund our business activities outside of the PRC or pay dividends in foreign currencies to our shareholders, including holders of the ADSs, and may limit our ability to obtain foreign currency through debt or equity financing for our subsidiaries.

 

If the custodians or authorized users of our controlling non-tangible assets, including chops and seals, fail to fulfill their responsibilities, or misappropriate or misuse these assets, our business and operations may be materially and adversely affected

 

Under PRC law, legal documents for corporate transactions, including agreements and contracts such as the leases and sales contracts that our business relies on, are executed using the chop or seal of the signing entity or with the signature of a legal representative whose designation is registered and filed with the relevant local branch of the market supervision administration.

 

In order to maintain the physical security of our chops and the chops of our PRC entities, we generally store these items in secured locations accessible only by the authorized personnel of each of our PRC subsidiary and consolidated entities. Although we monitor such authorized personnel, there is no assurance such procedures will prevent all instances of abuse or negligence. Accordingly, if any of our authorized personnel misuse or misappropriate our corporate chops or seals, we could encounter difficulties in maintaining control over the relevant entities and experience significant disruption to our operations. If a designated legal representative obtains control of the chops in an effort to obtain control over any of our PRC subsidiary or consolidated entities, we, our PRC subsidiaries or consolidated entities would need to pass a new shareholder or board resolution to designate a new legal representative and we would need to take legal action to seek the return of the chops, apply for new chops with the relevant authorities, or otherwise seek legal redress for the violation of the representative’s fiduciary duties to us, which could involve significant time and resources and divert management attention away from our regular business. In addition, the affected entity may not be able to recover corporate assets that are sold or transferred out of our control in the event of such a misappropriation if a transferee relies on the apparent authority of the representative and acts in good faith.

 

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The M&A Rules and certain other PRC regulations establish complex procedures for some acquisitions of Chinese companies by foreign investors, which could make it more difficult for us to pursue growth through acquisitions in China

 

The Regulations on Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Companies by Foreign Investors, or the M&A Rules, adopted by six PRC regulatory agencies in August 2006 and amended in September 2009, and some other regulations and rules concerning mergers and acquisitions established additional procedures and requirements that could make merger and acquisition activities by foreign investors more time consuming and complex, including requirements in some instances that shall obtained an approval from the Ministry of Commerce, or the MOFCOM, in advance of any change-of-control transaction in which a foreign investor takes control of a PRC domestic enterprise. Moreover, the Anti-Monopoly Law requires that the MOFCOM shall be notified in advance of any concentration of undertaking if certain thresholds are triggered. In addition, the security review rules issued by the MOFCOM that became effective in September 2011 specify that mergers and acquisitions by foreign investors that raise “national defense and security” concerns and mergers and acquisitions through which foreign investors may acquire de facto control over domestic enterprises that raise “national security” concerns are subject to strict review by the MOFCOM, and the rules prohibit any activities attempting to bypass a security review, including by structuring the transaction through a proxy or contractual control arrangement. In the future, we may grow our business by acquiring complementary businesses. Complying with the requirements of the above-mentioned regulations and other relevant rules to complete such transactions could be time consuming, and any required approval processes, including obtaining approval from the MOFCOM or its local counterparts may delay or inhibit our ability to complete such transactions, which could affect our ability to expand our business or maintain our market share.

 

We face regulatory uncertainties in China that could restrict our ability to grant share incentive awards to our employees or consultants who are PRC citizens.

 

Pursuant to the Notices on Issues concerning the Foreign Exchange Administration for Domestic Individuals Participating in a Stock Incentive Plan of an Overseas Publicly-Listed Company issued by SAFE on February 15, 2012, or Circular 7, a qualified PRC agent (which could be the PRC subsidiary of the overseas-listed company) is required to file, on behalf of “domestic individuals” (both PRC residents and non-PRC residents who reside in China for a continuous period of not less than one year, excluding the foreign diplomatic personnel and representatives of international organizations) who are granted shares or share options by the overseas-listed company according to its share incentive plan, an application with SAFE to conduct SAFE registration with respect to such share incentive plan, and obtain approval for an annual allowance with respect to the purchase of foreign exchange in connection with the share purchase or share option exercise. Such PRC individuals’ foreign exchange income received from the sale of shares and dividends distributed by the overseas listed company and any other income shall be fully remitted into a collective foreign currency account in China, which is opened and managed by the PRC domestic agent before distribution to such individuals. In addition, such domestic individuals must also retain an overseas entrusted institution to handle matters in connection with their exercise of share options and their purchase and sale of shares. The PRC domestic agent also needs to update registration with SAFE within three months after the overseas-listed company materially changes its share incentive plan or make any new share incentive plans.

 

We [have] adopted our 2020 Share Incentive Plan, effective upon the completion of this offering, and may grant options after its effectiveness. When we do, from time to time, we need to apply for or update our registration with SAFE or its local branches on behalf of our employees or consultants who receive options or other equity-based incentive grants under our share incentive plan or material changes in our share incentive plan. However, we may not always be able to make applications or update our registration on behalf of our employees or consultants who hold any type of share incentive awards in compliance with Circular 7, nor can we ensure you that such applications or update of registration will be successful. If we or the participants of our share incentive plan who are PRC citizens fail to comply with Circular 7, we and/or such participants of our share incentive plan may be subject to fines and legal sanctions, there may be additional restrictions on the ability of such participants to exercise their share options or remit proceeds gained from sale of their shares into China, and we may be prevented from further granting share incentive awards under our share incentive plan to our employees or consultants who are PRC citizens.

 

The approval of the China Securities Regulatory Commission may be required in connection with this offering under PRC law

 

The M&A Rules requires an overseas SPV formed for listing purposes through acquisitions of PRC domestic companies and controlled by PRC companies or individuals to obtain the approval of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or the CSRC, prior to the listing and trading of such SPV’s securities on an overseas stock exchange. The interpretation and application of the regulations remain unclear, and this offering may ultimately require approval from the CSRC. If CSRC approval is required, it is uncertain how long it will take us to obtain the approval and any failure to obtain or delay in obtaining CSRC approval for this offering would subject us to sanctions imposed by the CSRC and other PRC regulatory agencies, which could include fines and penalties on our operations in China, restrictions or limitations on our ability to pay dividends outside of China, and other forms of sanctions that may materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

Our PRC counsel has advised us that, based on its understanding of the current PRC laws and regulations, we will not be required to submit an application to the CSRC for the approval of the listing and trading of the ADSs on the [New York Stock Exchange/Nasdaq Global Market] because (1) the CSRC currently has not issued any definitive rule or interpretation concerning whether offerings like ours under this prospectus are subject to this regulation, and (2) our company acquired 100% equity interests in Hangzhou Ebang Hongfa Technology Co., Ltd., or Ebang Hongfa, which is a foreign-invested enterprise rather than a “PRC domestic company” as defined under the M&A Rules. However, we cannot assure you that relevant PRC government agencies, including the CSRC, would reach the same conclusion as our PRC counsel, and hence we may face regulatory actions or other sanctions from the CSRC or other PRC regulatory agencies. These regulatory agencies may impose fines and penalties on our operations in China, limit our operating privileges in China, delay or restrict the repatriation of the proceeds from this offering into China or take other actions that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, as well as the trading price of the ADSs. The CSRC or other PRC regulatory agencies also may take actions requiring us, or making it advisable for us, to halt this offering before settlement and delivery of the ADSs offered hereby. Consequently, if you engage in market trading or other activities in anticipation of and prior to settlement and delivery, you do so at the risk that settlement and delivery may not occur. In addition, if the CSRC or other regulatory agencies later promulgate new rules or explanations requiring that we obtain their approvals for this offering, we may be unable to obtain a waiver of such approval requirements, if and when procedures are established to obtain such a waiver. Any uncertainties and/or negative publicity regarding such approval requirement could have a material adverse effect on the trading price of the ADSs.

 

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Risks Relating to the ADSs and This Offering

 

An active trading market for our Class A ordinary shares or the ADSs may not develop and the trading price for the ADSs may fluctuate significantly. You may not be able to resell the ADSs at or above the price you paid, or at all

 

We intend to apply for listing of the ADSs on the [New York Stock Exchange/Nasdaq Global Market]. Prior to the completion of this offering, there has been no public market for the ADSs or our Class A ordinary shares, and we cannot assure you that a liquid public market for the ADSs will develop. If an active public market for the ADSs does not develop following the completion of this offering, the market price and liquidity of the ADSs may be materially and adversely affected. The initial public offering price for the ADSs was determined by negotiation between us and the underwriters based upon several factors, and the trading price of the ADSs after this offering could decline below the initial public offering price. As a result, investors in our securities may experience a significant decrease in the value of the ADSs.

 

The trading price of the ADSs may be volatile, which could result in substantial losses to investors

 

The trading price of the ADSs may be volatile and could fluctuate widely due to factors beyond our control. This may happen because of broad market and industry factors, like the performance and fluctuation of the market prices of other companies with business operations located mainly in China that have listed their securities in the United States. A number of Chinese companies have listed or are in the process of listing their securities on U.S. stock markets. The securities of some of these companies have experienced significant volatility, including price declines in connection with their initial public offerings. The trading performances of these Chinese companies’ securities after their offerings may affect the attitudes of investors toward Chinese companies listed in the United States in general and consequently may impact the trading performance of the ADSs, regardless of our actual operating performance.

 

In addition to market and industry factors, the price and trading volume for the ADSs may be highly volatile for factors specific to our own operations, including the following:

 

variations in our revenues, earnings and cash flow;

 

announcements of new investments, acquisitions, strategic partnerships or joint ventures by us or our competitors;

 

announcements of new services and expansions by us or our competitors;

 

changes in financial estimates by securities analysts;

 

detrimental adverse publicity about us, our services or our industry;

 

additions or departures of key personnel;

 

release of lock-up or other transfer restrictions on our outstanding equity securities or sales of additional equity securities; and

 

potential litigation or regulatory investigations.

 

Any of these factors may result in large and sudden changes in the volume and price at which the ADSs will trade.

 

In the past, shareholders of public companies have often brought securities class action suits against those companies following periods of instability in the market price of their securities. If we were involved in a class action suit, it could divert a significant amount of our management’s attention and other resources from our business and operations and require us to incur significant expenses to defend the suit, which could harm our results of operations. Any such class action suit, whether or not successful, could harm our reputation and restrict our ability to raise capital in the future. In addition, if a claim is successfully made against us, we may be required to pay significant damages, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

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If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, or if they adversely change their recommendations regarding the ADSs, the market price for the ADSs and trading volume could decline

 

The trading market for the ADSs will be influenced by research or reports that industry or securities analysts publish about our business. If one or more analysts who cover us downgrade the ADSs, the market price for the ADSs would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease to cover us or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause the market price or trading volume for the ADSs to decline.

 

The sale or availability for sale of substantial amounts of the ADSs could adversely affect their market price

 

Sales of substantial amounts of the ADSs in the public market after the completion of this offering, or the perception that these sales could occur, could adversely affect the market price of the ADSs and could materially impair our ability to raise capital through equity offerings in the future. The ADSs sold in this offering will be freely tradable without restriction or further registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, and shares held by our existing shareholders may also be sold in the public market in the future subject to the restrictions in Rule 144 and Rule 701 under the Securities Act and the applicable lock-up agreements. There will be                            ADSs (equivalent to                            Class A ordinary shares) outstanding immediately after this offering, or                            ADSs (equivalent to                            Class A ordinary shares) if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional ADSs in full. In connection with this offering, we, our officers, directors and existing shareholders have agreed not to sell any of our Class A ordinary shares or the ADSs or are otherwise subject to similar lockup restrictions for 180 days after the date of this prospectus without the prior written consent of the underwriters, subject to certain exceptions. However, the underwriters may release these securities from these restrictions at any time, subject to applicable regulations of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. We cannot predict what effect, if any, market sales of securities held by our significant shareholders or any other shareholder or the availability of these securities for future sale will have on the market price of the ADSs. See “Underwriting” and “Shares Eligible for Future Sale” for a more detailed description of the restrictions on selling our securities after this offering.

 

Because we do not expect to pay dividends in the foreseeable future after this offering, you must rely on price appreciation of the ADSs for return on your investment

 

We currently intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings after this offering to fund the development and growth of our business. As a result, we do not expect to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Therefore, you should not rely on an investment in the ADSs as a source for any future dividend income.

 

Our board of directors has complete discretion as to whether to distribute dividends. Even if our board of directors decides to declare and pay dividends, the timing, amount and form of future dividends, if any, will depend on, among other things, our future results of operations and cash flow, our capital requirements and surplus, the amount of distributions, if any, received by us from our subsidiary, our financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors. Accordingly, the return on your investment in the ADSs will likely depend entirely upon any future price appreciation of the ADSs. There is no guarantee that the ADSs will appreciate in value after this offering or even maintain the price at which you purchased the ADSs. You may not realize a return on your investment in the ADSs and you may even lose your entire investment in the ADSs.

 

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Because the initial public offering price is substantially higher than the pro forma net tangible book value per share, you will experience immediate and substantial dilution

 

If you purchase the ADSs in this offering, you will pay more for each ADS than the corresponding amount paid by existing shareholders for their ordinary shares. As a result, you will experience immediate and substantial dilution of approximately US$                            per ADS (assuming that no outstanding options to acquire Class A ordinary shares are exercised). This number represents the difference between (1) our pro forma net tangible book value per ADS of US$                            as of December 31, 2019, after giving effect to this offering and (2) the initial public offering price of US$                            per ADS. See “Dilution” for a more complete description of how the value of your investment in the ADSs will be diluted upon the completion of this offering.

 

We have not determined a specific use for a portion of the net proceeds from this offering, and we may use these proceeds in ways with which you may not agree

 

We have not determined a specific use for a portion of the net proceeds of this offering, and our management will have considerable discretion in deciding how to apply these proceeds. You will not have the opportunity to assess whether the proceeds are being used appropriately before you make your investment decision. You must rely on the judgment of our management regarding the application of the net proceeds of this offering. We cannot assure you that the net proceeds will be used in a manner that will improve our results of operations or increase the ADS price, nor that these net proceeds will be placed only in investments that generate income or appreciate in value.

 

There can be no assurance that we will not be classified as a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, for U.S. federal income tax purposes for any taxable year, which could result in adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences to U.S. Holders of the ADSs or our Class A ordinary shares

 

A non-U.S. corporation, such as our company, will be classified as a “passive foreign investment company,” or PFIC, for U.S. federal income tax purposes for any taxable year if either (1) at least 75% of its gross income for such year consists of certain types of “passive” income or the “income test”; or (2) at least 50% of the value of its assets (generally based on an average of the quarterly values of the assets) during such year is attributable to assets that produce passive income or are held for the production of passive income, or the “asset test.” Based on the current and expected composition of our income and assets and value of our assets (taking into account the expected cash proceeds from this offering) and projections as to the value of the ADSs and ordinary shares following this offering, we do not presently expect to be a PFIC for the current taxable year. However, no assurance can be given in this regard because the determination of whether we are or will become a PFIC for any taxable year is a fact-intensive inquiry made on an annual basis that depends, in part, upon the composition of our income and assets, which may change over time if we expand and diversify our product offerings. Fluctuations in the market price of the ADSs may cause us to be or become a PFIC for the current or subsequent taxable years because the value of our assets for the purpose of the asset test may be determined by reference to the market price of the ADSs (which may be volatile). The composition of our income and assets may also be affected by how, and how quickly, we use our liquid assets and the cash raised in this offering.

 

If we were to be or become a PFIC for any taxable year during which a U.S. Holder (as defined in “Taxation— Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations”) holds the ADSs or our Class A ordinary shares, certain adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences could apply to such U.S. Holder. See “Taxation—Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations—Passive Foreign Investment Company Rules.”

 

Our memorandum and articles of association contain anti-takeover provisions that could have a material adverse effect on the rights of holders of our Class A ordinary shares and the ADSs

 

We have adopted an amended and restated memorandum and articles of association that will become effective immediately prior to the completion of this offering. Our new memorandum and articles of association contain provisions to limit the ability of others to acquire control of our company or cause us to engage in change-of-control transactions. These provisions could have the effect of depriving our shareholders of an opportunity to sell their shares at a premium over prevailing market prices by discouraging third parties from seeking to obtain control of our company in a tender offer or similar transaction. Our board of directors has the authority, without further action by our shareholders, to issue preferred shares in one or more series and to fix their designations, powers, preferences, privileges, and relative participating, optional or special rights and the qualifications, limitations or restrictions, including dividend rights, conversion rights, voting rights, terms of redemption and liquidation preferences, any or all of which may be greater than the rights associated with our ordinary shares, in the form of ADS or otherwise. Preferred shares could be issued quickly with terms calculated to delay or prevent a change in control of our company or make removal of management more difficult. If our board of directors decides to issue preferred shares, the price of the ADSs may fall and the voting and other rights of the holders of our Class A ordinary shares and the ADSs may be materially and adversely affected.

 

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You may face difficulties in protecting your interests, and your ability to protect your rights through U.S. courts may be limited, because we are incorporated under Cayman Islands law

 

We are an exempted company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands. Our corporate affairs are governed by our memorandum and articles of association, the Companies Law (2020 Revision) of the Cayman Islands and the common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders to take action against the directors, actions by minority shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors to us under Cayman Islands law are to a large extent governed by the common law of the Cayman Islands. The common law of the Cayman Islands is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the Cayman Islands as well as from the common law of England, the decisions of whose courts are of persuasive authority, but are not binding, on a court in the Cayman Islands. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors under Cayman Islands law are not as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedent in some jurisdictions in the United States. In particular, the Cayman Islands have a less developed body of securities laws than the United States. Some U.S. states, such as Delaware, have more fully developed and judicially interpreted bodies of corporate law than the Cayman Islands. In addition, Cayman Islands companies may not have standing to initiate a shareholder derivative action in a federal court of the United States.

 

Shareholders of Cayman Islands exempted companies like us have no general rights under Cayman Islands law to inspect corporate records or to obtain copies of lists of shareholders of these companies. Our directors have discretion under our articles of association to determine whether or not, and under what conditions, our corporate records may be inspected by our shareholders, but are not obliged to make them available to our shareholders. This may make it more difficult for you to obtain the information needed to establish any facts necessary for a shareholder motion or to solicit proxies from other shareholders in connection with a proxy contest.

 

Certain corporate governance practices in the Cayman Islands, which is our home country, differ significantly from requirements for companies incorporated in other jurisdictions such as the United States. If we choose to follow home country practice in the future, our shareholders may be afforded less protection than they otherwise would under rules and regulations applicable to U.S. domestic issuers.

 

As a result of all of the above, our public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions taken by management, members of the board of directors or controlling shareholders than they would as public shareholders of a company incorporated in the United States. For a discussion of significant differences between the provisions of the Companies Law of the Cayman Islands and the laws applicable to companies incorporated in the United States and their shareholders, see “Description of Share Capital—Differences in Corporate Law.”

 

As a company incorporated in the Cayman Islands, we are permitted to adopt certain home country practices in relation to corporate governance matters that differ significantly from the [New York Stock Exchange/Nasdaq Stock Market] listing standards; these practices may afford less protection to shareholders than they would enjoy if we complied fully with the relevant listing standards

 

As a Cayman Islands company listed on the [New York Stock Exchange/Nasdaq Global Market], we are subject to the [New York Stock Exchange/Nasdaq Stock Market] listing standards. However, the [New York Stock Exchange/Nasdaq Stock Market] listing standards permit a foreign private issuer like us to follow the corporate governance practices of its home country. Certain corporate governance practices in the Cayman Islands, which is our home country, may differ significantly from the [New York Stock Exchange/Nasdaq Stock Market] listing standards. Currently, we do not plan to rely on home country practices with respect to our corporate governance after we complete this offering. However, if we choose to follow home country practices in the future, our shareholders may be afforded less protection than they would otherwise enjoy under the relevant listing standards applicable to U.S. domestic issuers.

 

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Cayman Islands economic substance requirements may have an effect on our business and operations.

 

Pursuant to the International Tax Cooperation (Economic Substance) Law, 2018 of the Cayman Islands, or the ES Law, that came into force on January 1, 2019, a “relevant entity” is required to satisfy the economic substance test set out in the ES Law. A “relevant entity” includes an exempted company incorporated in the Cayman Islands as is our company. Based on the current interpretation of the ES Law, we believe that our company, Ebang International Holdings Inc., is a pure equity holding company since it only holds equity participation in other entities and only earns dividends and capital gains. Accordingly, for so long as our company, Ebang International Holdings Inc., is a “pure equity holding company”, it is only subject to the minimum substance requirements, which require us to (1) comply with all applicable filing requirements under the Companies Law, Cap. 22 (Law 3 of 1961, as consolidated and revised) of the Cayman Islands; and (2) has adequate human resources and adequate premises in the Cayman Islands for holding and managing equity participations in other entities. However, there can be no assurance that we will not be subject to more requirements under the ES Law. Uncertainties over the interpretation and implementation of the ES Law may have an adverse impact on our business and operations.

 

Our proposed dual-class voting structure will limit your ability to influence corporate matters and could discourage others from pursuing any change of control transactions that holders of our Class A ordinary shares and the ADSs may view as beneficial.

 

Our authorized share capital will be divided into Class A ordinary shares and Class B ordinary shares immediately prior to the completion of this offering. Holders of Class A ordinary shares will be entitled to one vote per share, while holders of Class B ordinary shares will be entitled to [20] votes per share. We will issue Class A ordinary shares represented by the ADSs in this offering. Each Class B ordinary share is convertible into one Class A ordinary share at any time by the holder thereof, while Class A ordinary shares are not convertible into Class B ordinary shares under any circumstances. Upon any sale, transfer, assignment or disposition of any Class B ordinary shares by a holder thereof to any non-affiliate of such holder, each of such Class B ordinary shares will be automatically and immediately converted into one Class A ordinary share.

 

Immediately prior to the completion of this offering, Mr. Dong Hu, our founder, chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer, will beneficially own all of our issued Class B ordinary shares. These Class B ordinary shares will constitute approximately                            % of our total issued and outstanding share capital immediately after the completion of this offering and                            % of the aggregate voting power of our total issued and outstanding share capital immediately after the completion of this offering, assuming the underwriters do not exercise their option to purchase additional ADSs. As a result of the dual-class share structure and the concentration of ownership, Mr. Dong Hu will have considerable influence over matters such as decisions regarding mergers and consolidations, election of directors and other significant corporate actions. He may take actions that are not in the best interest of us or our other shareholders. This concentration of ownership may discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of our company, which could have the effect of depriving our other shareholders of the opportunity to receive a premium for their shares as part of a sale of our company and may reduce the price of the ADSs. This concentrated control will limit your ability to influence corporate matters and could discourage others from pursuing any potential merger, takeover or other change of control transactions that holders of Class A ordinary shares and ADSs may view as beneficial.

 

We will be a “controlled company” within the meaning of the [New York Stock Exchange Listed Company Manual]/[Nasdaq Stock Market Listing Rules], and, as a result, can rely on exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements that provide protection to shareholders of other companies.

 

Upon the completion of this offering, we will be a “controlled company” as defined under the [New York Stock Exchange Listed Company Manual]/[Nasdaq Stock Market Listing Rules] as Mr. Dong Hu, our founder, chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer, will own more than 50% of our total voting power. For so long as we remain a controlled company under that definition, we are permitted to elect to rely, and may rely, on certain exemptions from corporate governance rules. As a result, you may not have the same protection afforded to shareholders of companies that are subject to these corporate governance requirements.

 

The dual-class structure of our ordinary shares may adversely affect the trading market for the ADSs.

 

Certain shareholder advisory firms have announced changes to their eligibility criteria for inclusion of shares of public companies on certain indices, including the S&P 500, to exclude companies with multiple classes of shares and companies whose public shareholders hold no more than 5% of total voting power from being added to such indices. In addition, several shareholder advisory firms have announced their opposition to the use of multiple class structures. As a result, the dual-class structure of our ordinary shares may prevent the inclusion of the ADSs representing Class A ordinary shares in such indices and may cause shareholder advisory firms to publish negative commentary about our corporate governance practices or otherwise seek to cause us to change our capital structure. Any such exclusion from indices could result in a less active trading market for the ADSs. Any actions or publications by shareholder advisory firms critical of our corporate governance practices or capital structure could also adversely affect the value of the ADSs.

 

ADS holders may not be entitled to a jury trial with respect to claims arising under the deposit agreement, which could result in less favorable outcomes to the plaintiff(s) in any such action

 

The deposit agreement governing the ADSs representing our Class A ordinary shares provides that, subject to the depositary’s right to require a claim to be submitted to arbitration, the federal or state courts in the City of New York have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine claims arising under the deposit agreement and in that regard, to the fullest extent permitted by law, ADS holders waive the right to a jury trial of any claim they may have against us or the depositary arising out of or relating to our Class A ordinary shares, the ADSs or the deposit agreement, including any claim under the U.S. federal securities laws.

 

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If we or the depositary opposed a jury trial demand based on the waiver, the court would determine whether the waiver was enforceable based on the facts and circumstances of that case in accordance with the applicable state and federal law. To our knowledge, the enforceability of a contractual pre-dispute jury trial waiver in connection with claims arising under the federal securities laws has not been finally adjudicated by the United States Supreme Court. However, we believe that a contractual pre-dispute jury trial waiver provision is generally enforceable, including under the laws of the State of New York, which govern the deposit agreement. In determining whether to enforce a contractual pre-dispute jury trial waiver provision, courts will generally consider whether a party knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily waived the right to a jury trial. We believe that this is the case with respect to the deposit agreement and the ADSs. It is advisable that you consult legal counsel regarding the jury waiver provision before investing in the ADSs.

 

If you or any other holders or beneficial owners of ADSs bring a claim against us or the depositary in connection with matters arising under the deposit agreement or the ADSs, including claims under federal securities laws, you or such other holder or beneficial owner may not be entitled to a jury trial with respect to such claims, which may have the effect of limiting and discouraging lawsuits against us and / or the depositary. If a lawsuit is brought against us and/or the depositary under the deposit agreement, it may be heard only by a judge or justice of the applicable trial court, which would be conducted according to different civil procedures and may result in different outcomes than a trial by jury would have had, including results that could be less favorable to the plaintiff(s) in any such action.

 

Nevertheless, if this jury trial waiver provision is not enforced, to the extent a court action proceeds, it would proceed under the terms of the deposit agreement with a jury trial. No condition, stipulation or provision of the deposit agreement or ADSs serves as a waiver by any holder or beneficial owner of ADSs or by us or the depositary of compliance with any substantive provision of the U.S. federal securities laws and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder.

 

Certain judgments obtained against us by our shareholders may not be enforceable

 

We are a Cayman Islands company and the majority of our assets are located outside of the United States. The most significant portion of our operations is conducted in China. In addition, a majority of our current directors and officers are nationals and residents of countries other than the United States. Substantially all of the assets of these persons may be located outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for you to bring an action against us or against these individuals in the United States in the event that you believe that your rights have been infringed under the U.S. federal securities laws or otherwise. Even if you are successful in bringing an action of this kind, the laws of the Cayman Islands and of China may render you unable to enforce a judgment against our assets or the assets of our directors and officers. For more information regarding the relevant laws of the Cayman Islands and China, see “Enforceability of Civil Liabilities.”

 

Participation in this offering by our existing principal shareholders and their affiliates would reduce the available public float for the ADSs

 

Certain existing principal shareholders and their affiliates subscribed for, and have been allocated by the underwriters, an aggregate of                          ADSs in this offering at the initial public offering price and on the same terms as the other ADSs being offered, representing approximately                          % of the ADSs being offered in this offering, assuming the underwriters do not exercise their option to purchase additional ADSs. The purchase of the ADSs by these entities in this offering may reduce the liquidity of the ADSs relative to what it would have been had these ADSs been purchased by other investors.

 

We are an emerging growth company within the meaning of the Securities Act and may take advantage of certain reduced reporting requirements

 

We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the JOBS Act, and we may take advantage of certain exemptions from requirements applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies including, most significantly, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 for so long as we are an emerging growth company until the fifth anniversary from the date of our initial listing.

 

The JOBS Act also provides that an emerging growth company does not need to comply with any new or revised financial accounting standards until such date that a private company is otherwise required to comply with such new or revised accounting standards. However, we have elected to “opt out” of this provision and, as a result, we will comply with new or revised accounting standards as required when they are adopted for public companies. This decision to opt out of the extended transition period under the JOBS Act is irrevocable.

 

We are a foreign private issuer within the meaning of the rules under the Exchange Act, and as such we are exempt from certain provisions applicable to United States domestic public companies

 

Because we are a foreign private issuer under the Exchange Act, we are exempt from certain provisions of the securities rules and regulations in the United States that are applicable to U.S. domestic issuers, including:

 

the rules under the Exchange Act requiring the filing of quarterly reports on Form 10-Q or current reports on Form 8-K with the SEC;

 

the sections of the Exchange Act regulating the solicitation of proxies, consents, or authorizations in respect of a security registered under the Exchange Act;

 

the sections of the Exchange Act requiring insiders to file public reports of their stock ownership and trading activities and liability for insiders who profit from trades made in a short period of time; and

 

the selective disclosure rules by issuers of material nonpublic information under Regulation FD.

 

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We will be required to file an annual report on Form 20-F within four months of the end of each fiscal year. In addition, we intend to publish our results on a quarterly basis through press releases, distributed pursuant to the rules and regulations of the [New York Stock Exchange/Nasdaq Global Market]. Press releases relating to financial results and material events will also be furnished to the SEC on Form 6-K. However, the information we are required to file with or furnish to the SEC will be less extensive and less timely than that required to be filed with the SEC by U.S. domestic issuers. As a result, you may not be afforded the same protections or information that would be made available to you were you investing in a U.S. domestic issuer.

 

The voting rights of holders of the ADSs are limited by the terms of the deposit agreement, and you may not be able to exercise your right to vote your Class A ordinary shares

 

As a holder of the ADSs, you will only be able to exercise the voting rights with respect to the underlying Class A ordinary shares in accordance with the deposit agreement. Under the deposit agreement, you must vote by giving voting instructions to the depositary. Upon receipt of your voting instructions, the depositary will vote the underlying Class A ordinary shares in accordance with these instructions. You will not be able to directly exercise your right to vote with respect to the underlying shares unless you withdraw the shares. Under our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association that will become effective immediately prior to the completion of this offering, the minimum notice period required for convening a general meeting is ten clear days. When a general meeting is convened, you may not receive sufficient advance notice to withdraw the shares underlying your ADSs to allow you to vote with respect to any specific matter. If we ask for your instructions, the depositary will notify you of the upcoming vote and will arrange to deliver our voting materials to you. We cannot assure you that you will receive the voting materials in time to ensure that you can instruct the depositary to vote your shares. In addition, the depositary and its agents are not responsible for failing to carry out voting instructions or for their manner of carrying out your voting instructions. This means that you may not be able to exercise your right to vote and you may have no legal remedy if the shares underlying your ADSs are not voted as you requested.

 

The depositary for the ADSs will give us a discretionary proxy to vote our Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs if you do not vote at shareholders’ meetings, except in limited circumstances, which could adversely affect your interests

 

Under the deposit agreement for the ADSs, if you do not vote, the depositary will give us a discretionary proxy to vote our Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs at shareholders’ meetings unless:

 

we have failed to timely provide the depositary with notice of meeting and related voting materials;

 

we have instructed the depositary that we do not wish a discretionary proxy to be given;

 

we have informed the depositary that there is substantial opposition as to a matter to be voted on at the meeting;

 

a matter to be voted on at the meeting would have a material adverse impact on shareholders; or

 

the voting at the meeting is to be made on a show of hands.

 

The effect of this discretionary proxy is that if you do not vote at shareholders’ meetings, you cannot prevent our Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs from being voted, except under the circumstances described above. This may make it more difficult for shareholders to influence the management of our company. Holders of our Class A ordinary shares are not subject to this discretionary proxy.

 

Your rights to pursue claims against the depositary as a holder of the ADSs are limited by the terms of the deposit agreement

 

Under the deposit agreement, any action or proceeding against or involving the depositary, arising out of or based upon the deposit agreement or the transactions contemplated thereby or by virtue of owning the ADSs may only be instituted in a state or federal court in New York, New York, and you, as a holder of the ADSs, will have irrevocably waived any objection which you may have to the laying of venue of any such proceeding, and irrevocably submitted to the exclusive jurisdiction of such courts in any such action or proceeding.

 

The depositary may, in its sole discretion, require that any dispute or difference arising from the relationship created by the deposit agreement be referred to and finally settled by an arbitration conducted under the terms described in the deposit agreement, although the arbitration provisions do not preclude you from pursuing claims under federal securities laws in federal courts. Furthermore, if you are unsuccessful in such arbitration, you may be responsible for the fees of the arbitrator and other costs incurred by the parties in connection with such arbitration pursuant to the deposit agreement. Also, we may amend or terminate the deposit agreement without your consent. If you continue to hold your ADSs after an amendment to the deposit agreement, you agree to be bound by the deposit agreement as amended. See “Description of American Depositary Shares” for more information.

 

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You may not receive dividends or other distributions on our Class A ordinary shares and you may not receive any value for them, if it is illegal or impractical to make them available to you

 

The depositary of the ADSs has agreed to pay you the cash dividends or other distributions it or the custodian receives on Class A ordinary shares or other deposited securities underlying the ADSs, after deducting its fees and expenses. You will receive these distributions in proportion to the number of Class A ordinary shares your ADSs represent. However, the depositary is not responsible if it decides that it is unlawful or impractical to make a distribution available to any holders of ADSs. For example, it would be unlawful to make a distribution to a holder of ADSs if it consists of securities that require registration under the Securities Act but that are not properly registered or distributed under an applicable exemption from registration. The depositary may also determine that it is not feasible to distribute certain property through the mail. Additionally, the value of certain distributions may be less than the cost of mailing them. In these cases, the depositary may determine not to distribute such property. We have no obligation to register under U.S. securities laws any ADSs, Class A ordinary shares, rights or other securities received through such distributions. We also have no obligation to take any other action to permit the distribution of ADSs, Class A ordinary shares, rights or anything else to holders of ADSs. This means that you may not receive distributions we make on our Class A ordinary shares or any value for them if it is illegal or impractical for us to make them available to you. These restrictions may cause a material decline in the value of the ADSs.

 

You may experience dilution of your holdings due to inability to participate in rights offerings

 

We may, from time to time, distribute rights to our shareholders, including rights to acquire securities. Under the deposit agreement, the depositary will not distribute rights to holders of ADSs unless the distribution and sale of rights and the securities to which these rights relate are either exempt from registration under the Securities Act with respect to all holders of ADSs or are registered under the provisions of the Securities Act. The depositary may, but is not required to, attempt to sell these undistributed rights to third parties, and may allow the rights to lapse. We may be unable to establish an exemption from registration under the Securities Act, and we are under no obligation to file a registration statement with respect to these rights or underlying securities or to endeavor to have a registration statement declared effective. Accordingly, holders of ADSs may be unable to participate in our rights offerings and may experience dilution of their holdings as a result.

 

You may be subject to limitations on transfer of your ADSs

 

Your ADSs are transferable on the books of the depositary. However, the depositary may close its books at any time or from time to time when it deems expedient in connection with the performance of its duties. The depositary may close its books from time to time for a number of reasons, including in connection with corporate events such as a rights offering, during which time the depositary needs to maintain an exact number of ADS holders on its books for a specified period. The depositary may also close its books in emergencies, and on weekends and public holidays. The depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of the ADSs generally when our share register or the books of the depositary are closed, or at any time if we or the depositary thinks it is advisable to do so because of any requirement of law or of any government or governmental body, or under any provision of the deposit agreement, or for any other reason.

 

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We will incur increased costs as a result of becoming a public company, particularly after we cease to qualify as an “emerging growth company”

 

Upon the completion of this offering, we will become a public company and expect to incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as well as rules subsequently implemented by the SEC and [New York Stock Exchange/Nasdaq Global Market], impose various requirements on the corporate governance practices of public companies. As a company with less than US$1.07 billion in net revenues for our last fiscal year, we qualify as an “emerging growth company” pursuant to the JOBS Act. An emerging growth company may take advantage of specified reduced reporting and other requirements that are otherwise applicable generally to public companies. These provisions include exemption from the auditor attestation requirement under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 in the assessment of the emerging growth company’s internal control over financial reporting and permission to delay adopting new or revised accounting standards until such time as those standards apply to private companies. However, we have elected to “opt out” of the provision that allow us to delay adopting new or revised accounting standards and, as a result, we will comply with new or revised accounting standards as required when they are adopted for public companies. This decision to opt out of the extended transition period under the JOBS Act is irrevocable.

 

We expect these rules and regulations to increase our legal and financial compliance costs and to make some corporate activities more time-consuming and costly. After we are no longer an “emerging growth company,” we expect to incur significant expenses and devote substantial management effort toward ensuring compliance with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the other rules and regulations of the SEC. For example, as a result of becoming a public company, we will need to increase the number of independent directors and adopt policies regarding internal controls and disclosure controls and procedures. We also expect that operating as a public company will make it more difficult and more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. In addition, we will incur additional costs associated with our public company reporting requirements. It may also be more difficult for us to find qualified persons to serve on our board of directors or as executive officers. We are currently evaluating and monitoring developments with respect to these rules and regulations, and we cannot predict or estimate with any degree of certainty the amount of additional costs we may incur or the timing of such costs.

 

In the past, shareholders of a public company often brought securities class action suits against the company following periods of instability in the market price of that company’s securities. If we were involved in a class action suit, it could divert a significant amount of our management’s attention and other resources from our business, which could harm our results of operations and require us to incur significant expenses to defend the suit. Any such class action suit, whether or not successful, could harm our reputation and restrict our ability to raise capital in the future. In addition, if a claim is successfully made against us, we may be required to pay significant damages, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

Certain data and information in this prospectus were obtained from third-party sources and were not independently verified by us

 

This prospectus, in particular the industry data reproduced from Frost & Sullivan, contains certain data and information that have been derived from third-party reports, either commissioned by us or publicly accessible, and other publicly available sources. Statistical data in these sources of information also include projections based on a number of assumptions. The countries where we operate property markets may not grow at the rate projected by such statistical data, or at all. The failure of our industry to grow at the projected rate may have a material adverse effect on our business. In addition, the complex and changing nature of the broad macroeconomic factors discussed in this Prospectus may result in significant uncertainties for any projections or estimates relating to the growth prospects or future condition of our market. Furthermore, if any one or more of the assumptions underlying the market data is later found to be incorrect, actual results may differ from the projections based on these assumptions.

 

We have not independently verified the data and information contained in such third-party publications and reports. Data and information contained in such third-party publications and reports may be collected using third-party methodologies, which may differ from the data collection methods used by us. In addition, these industry publications and reports generally indicate that the information contained therein was believed to be reliable, but do not guarantee the accuracy and completeness of such information. You should therefore not place undue reliance on such information.

 

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SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

This prospectus contains forward-looking statements about our current expectations and views of future events, which are contained principally in the sections entitled “Prospectus Summary,” “Risk Factors,” “Use of Proceeds,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” “Industry Overview” and “Business.” These forward-looking statements relate to events that involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by these statements.

 

You can identify some of these forward-looking statements by words or phrases such as “may,” “will,” “could,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “aim,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “is/are likely to,” “propose,” “potential,” “continue” or other similar expressions. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events and financial trends that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. The forward-looking statements included in this prospectus relate to, among other things:

 

our goals and strategies;

 

our business and operating strategies and plans for the development of existing and new businesses, ability to implement such strategies and plans and expected time;

 

our future business development, financial condition and results of operations;

 

expected changes in our revenues, costs or expenditures;

 

our dividend policy;

 

our expectations regarding demand for and market acceptance of our products and services;

 

our expectations regarding our relationships with customers and business partners;

 

the trends in, expected growth in and market size of the blockchain industry and the telecommunications industry in China and globally;

 

our ability to maintain and enhance our market position;

 

our ability to continue to develop new technologies and/or upgrade our existing technologies;

 

developments in, or changes to, laws, regulations, governmental policies, incentives and taxation affecting our operations, in particular in the blockchain industry and the telecommunications industry;

 

relevant governmental policies and regulations relating to our businesses and industry;

 

competitive environment, competitive landscape and potential competitor behavior in our industry; overall industry outlook in our industry;

 

our ability to attract, train and retain executives and other employees;

 

our proposed use of proceeds from this offering;

 

the development of the global financial and capital markets;

 

fluctuations in inflation, interest rates and exchange rates;

 

general business, political, social and economic conditions in China and the overseas markets we have business; and

 

assumptions underlying or related to any of the foregoing.

 

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These forward-looking statements involve various risks and uncertainties. Although we believe that our expectations expressed in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, our expectations and our actual results could be materially different from our expectations. Important risks and factors that could cause our actual results to be materially different from our expectations are generally set forth in “Prospectus Summary—Our Challenges,” “Risk Factors,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” “Business,” “Regulation” and other sections in this prospectus. Moreover, we operate in an evolving environment. New risk factors and uncertainties emerge from time to time and it is not possible for our management to predict all risk factors and uncertainties, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. You should read thoroughly this prospectus and the documents that we refer to with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from and worse than what we expect. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.

 

This prospectus contains information derived from government and private publications. These publications include forward-looking statements, which are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Although we believe the data and information to be reliable, we have not independently verified the accuracy or completeness of the data and information contained in these publications. Statistical data in these publications also include projections based on a number of assumptions. The blockchain industry and the telecommunications industry may not grow at the rate projected by market data, or at all. Failure of these markets to grow at the projected rate may have a material and adverse effect on our business and the market price of the ADSs. In addition, the rapidly evolving nature of the blockchain industry and the telecommunications industry results in significant uncertainties for any projections or estimates relating to the growth prospects or future condition of our market. Furthermore, if any one or more of the assumptions underlying the market data are later found to be incorrect, actual results may differ from the projections based on these assumptions. See “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to the ADSs and This Offering—Certain data and information in this prospectus were obtained from third-party sources and were not independently verified by us.” Therefore, you should not place undue reliance on these statements.

 

You should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. The forward-looking statements in this prospectus are made based on events and information as of the date of this prospectus. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date on which the statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. You should read this prospectus and the documents that we refer to in this prospectus and have filed as exhibits to the registration statement, of which this prospectus is a part, completely and with the understanding that our actual future results or performance may materially differ from what we expect.

 

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USE OF PROCEEDS

 

We estimate that we will receive net proceeds from this offering of approximately US$          million, or approximately US$                    million if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional ADSs in full, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. These estimates are based upon an assumed initial public offering price of US$                    per ADS, the mid-point of the estimated range of the initial public offering price set forth on the front cover of this prospectus.

 

A US$1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of US$                 per ADS would increase (decrease) the net proceeds to us from this offering by US$                 million, or by US$                  if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional ADSs in full, assuming the number of ADSs offered by us, as set forth on the front cover of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated expenses payable by us.

 

The primary purposes of this offering are to create a public market for our Class A ordinary shares in the form of ADSs for the benefit of all shareholders, retain talented employees by providing them with equity incentives and obtain additional capital. We plan to use the net proceeds of this offering as follows:

 

approximately US$                 million for our development and introduction of new mining machines;

 

approximately US$                 million for corporate branding and marketing activities;

 

approximately US$                 million for expansion of overseas business and new businesses; and

 

the remainder of the net proceeds for general corporate purposes, which may include working capital needs and other corporate uses.

 

The amounts and timing of any expenditures will vary depending on the amount of cash generated by our operations, and the rate of growth, if any, of our business, and our plans and business conditions. The foregoing represents our intentions as of the date of this prospectus based upon our current plans and business conditions to use and allocate the net proceeds of this offering. However, our management will have significant flexibility and discretion in applying the net proceeds of this offering. Unforeseen events or changed business conditions may result in application of the proceeds of this offering in a manner other than as described in this prospectus.

 

To the extent that the net proceeds we receive from this offering are not immediately applied for the above purposes, we plan to invest the net proceeds in short-term, interest-bearing debt instruments or bank deposits.

 

As an offshore holding company, under PRC laws and regulations, we are only permitted to use the net proceeds of this offering to provide loans or make capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries. Provided that we make the necessary registrations with government authorities and obtain the required governmental approvals, we may extend inter-company loans or make additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries to fund their capital expenditures or working capital requirements.

 

We may not be able to make such registrations or obtain such approvals in a timely manner, or at all. See “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Conducting Business in China—PRC regulations relating to investments in offshore companies by PRC residents may subject our PRC-resident beneficial owners or our PRC subsidiaries to liability or penalties, limit our ability to inject capital into our PRC subsidiaries or limit our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to increase their registered capital or distribute profits.”

 

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DIVIDEND POLICY

 

Our board of directors has discretion as to whether to distribute dividends, subject to applicable laws. Under Cayman Islands law, a Cayman Islands company may pay a dividend on its shares out of either profit or share premium, provided that in no circumstances may a dividend be paid if this would result in the company being unable to pay its debts as they fall due in the ordinary course of business. Even if our board of directors decides to pay dividends, the form, frequency and amount will depend upon our future operations and earnings, capital requirements and surplus, general financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors that our board of directors may deem relevant.

 

We do not have any plans to declare or pay any cash dividends on our ordinary shares in the foreseeable future after this offering. We intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and future earnings to operate and expand our business.

 

We are a holding company incorporated in the Cayman Islands. We rely principally on dividends distributed by our subsidiaries in the PRC and Hong Kong for our cash requirements, including distribution of dividends to our shareholders. Dividends distributed by our PRC subsidiaries are subject to PRC taxes.

 

In addition, PRC regulations may restrict the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to pay dividends to us and only allow a PRC company to pay dividends out of its accumulated distributable after-tax profits as determined in accordance with its articles of association and the PRC accounting standards and regulations. See “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Conducting Business in China—PRC regulations relating to investments in offshore companies by PRC residents may subject our PRC-resident beneficial owners or our PRC subsidiaries to liability or penalties, limit our ability to inject capital into our PRC subsidiaries or limit our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to increase their registered capital or distribute profits” and “Regulation—Regulatory Overview of the PRC—Laws and Regulations Relating to Taxation—Tax on Dividends.”

 

To the extent we pay any dividends on our ordinary shares, we will pay those dividends which are payable in respect of the underlying Class A ordinary shares represented by the ADSs to the depositary, as the registered holder of such Class A ordinary shares, and the depositary then will pay such amounts to the ADS holders who will receive payment to the same extent as holders of our Class A ordinary shares, subject to the terms of the deposit agreement, including the fees and expenses payable thereunder. See “Description of American Depositary Shares.” Cash dividends on our Class A ordinary shares, if any, will be paid in U.S. dollars.

 

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CAPITALIZATION

 

The following table sets forth our capitalization as of December 31, 2019 presented on:

 

an actual basis; and

 

a pro forma basis to reflect (1) the re-designation of                    ordinary shares beneficially owned by Top Max Limited into Class B ordinary shares on a one-for-one basis immediately prior to the completion of this offering; and (2) the re-designation of all of the remaining ordinary shares into Class A ordinary shares on a one-for-one basis immediately prior to the completion of this offering; and
   
 a pro forma as adjusted basis to reflect (1) the re-designation of                    ordinary shares beneficially owned by Top Max Limited into Class B ordinary shares on a one-for-one basis immediately prior to the completion of this offering; (2) the re-designation of all of the remaining ordinary shares into Class A ordinary shares on a one-for-one basis immediately prior to the completion of this offering; and (3) the issuance and sale by us of                     Class A ordinary shares represented by the ADSs offered in this offering at an assumed initial public offering price of US$                    per ADS, the mid-point of the estimated range of the initial public offering price range set forth on the front cover of this prospectus, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us, and assuming no exercise by the underwriters of the option to purchase additional ADSs and no other change to the number of ADSs sold by us as set forth on the front cover of this prospectus.

 

You should read this table in conjunction with the information under “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus:

 

    As of December 31, 2019  
    Actual     Pro forma     Pro forma
as adjusted(1)
 
    US$     US$     US$  
    (in thousands, except for share data)  
Non-current liabilities                        
Long-term loans – related party    

17,632

                           
Shareholder’s equity                        
Ordinary shares (HK$0.001 par value; 380,000,000 shares authorized; 111,771,000 shares issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2019)     14                  
Additional paid-in capital(2)     23,888                  
Statutory reserves     11,050                  
Accumulated other comprehensive loss     (9,067 )                
Accumulative deficit     (7,906 )                
Non-controlling interest     7,591                  
Total shareholders’ equity(2)     25,571                  
Total capitalization(2)     43,203                  

  

 

(1)The pro forma as adjusted information discussed above is illustrative only. Our additional paid-in capital, total shareholders’ equity and total capitalization following the completion of this offering are subject to adjustment based on the actual initial public offering price and other terms of this offering determined at pricing.

(2)Assuming the number of ADSs offered by us as set forth on the front cover of this prospectus remains the same, and after deduction of underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us, a US$1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of US$                 per ADS, which is the mid-point of the estimated range of the initial public offering price set forth on the front cover of this prospectus, would increase (decrease) each of additional paid-in capital, total shareholders’ equity, and total capitalization by US$                 million.

 

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DILUTION

  

If you invest in the ADSs, your interest will be diluted to the extent of the difference between the initial public offering price per ADS and our net tangible book value per ADS after this offering. Dilution results because the initial public offering price per Class A ordinary share is substantially in excess of the book value per ordinary share attributable to the existing shareholders for our presently outstanding ordinary shares.

 

Net tangible book value represents the amount of our total consolidated tangible assets, which represent the amount of our total consolidated assets, excluding intangible assets and deferred initial public offering expenses, less total consolidated liabilities. Our net tangible book value as of December 31, 2019 was approximately US$21.8 million, or US$$0.19 per ordinary share and US$                   per ADS.

 

Dilution is determined by subtracting net tangible book value per ordinary share, after giving effect to the additional proceeds we will receive from this offering, from the assumed initial public offering price of US$                   per Class A ordinary share, which is the mid-point of the estimated range of the initial public offering price set forth on the front cover of this prospectus adjusted to reflect the ADS-to-ordinary share ratio, and after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. Because the Class A ordinary shares and Class B ordinary shares have the same dividend and other rights, except for voting and conversion rights, the dilution is presented based on all issued and outstanding ordinary shares, including Class A ordinary shares and Class B ordinary shares.

 

Without taking into account any other changes in net tangible book value after December 31, 2019, other than to give effect to (1) the re-designation of                    ordinary shares beneficially owned by Top Max Limited into Class B ordinary shares on a one-for-one basis immediately prior to the completion of this offering; (2) the re-designation of all of the remaining ordinary shares into Class A ordinary shares on a one-for-one basis immediately prior to the completion of this offering; and (3) the issuance and sale by us of Class A ordinary shares represented by ADSs in this offering at the assumed initial public offering price of US$                   per ADS, the mid-point of the estimated range of the initial public offering price set forth on the front cover of this prospectus, after deducting the underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us and assuming no exercise by the underwriters of their option to purchase additional ADSs, our pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value as of December 31, 2019 would have been US$                   million, or US$                   per ordinary share, including the underlying ordinary shares represented by the outstanding ADSs, and US$                   per ADS. This represents an immediate increase in net tangible book value of US$                   per ordinary share and US$                   per ADS to the existing shareholders and an immediate dilution in net tangible book value of US$                   per ordinary share and US$                   per ADS to investors purchasing ADSs in this offering. The following table illustrates such dilution:

 

    Per ordinary share     Per ADS  
Assumed initial public offering price   US$                    US$              
Net tangible book value as of December 31, 2019   US$       US$    
Pro forma net tangible book value after giving effect to the automatic re-designation of shares   US$       US$    
Pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value after giving effect to the automatic re-designation of shares and this offering   US$       US$    
Amount of dilution in net tangible book value to new investors in this offering   US$       US$    

 

A US$1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed public offering price of US$                   per ADS would increase (decrease) our pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value after giving effect to this offering by US$                   , the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per ordinary share and per ADS after giving effect to this offering by US$                   per ordinary share and US$                   per ADS and the dilution in pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per ordinary share and per ADS to new investors in this offering by US$                   per ordinary share and US$                   per ADS, assuming no change to the number of ADSs offered by us as set forth on the front cover of this prospectus and assuming no exercise by the underwriters of their option to purchase additional ADSs, and after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

 

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The following table summarizes, on a pro forma as adjusted basis as of December 31, 2019, the differences between existing shareholders and the new investors with respect to the number of ordinary shares (in the form of ADSs or shares) purchased from us, the total consideration paid and the average price per ordinary share and per ADS paid before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. The total number of ordinary shares does not include the underlying Class A ordinary shares represented by the ADSs issuable upon the exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional ADSs.

 

   Ordinary Shares Purchased   Total Consideration  

Average
Price per

Ordinary Share

  

Average
Price

per ADS

 
   Number   Percent   Amount   Percent         
   (US$ in thousands, except number of shares and percentages) 
Existing shareholders            %  US$                      %  US$               US$                  
New investors         %  US$      %  US$    US$  
Total                      100.0%  US$     100.0%  US$    US$  

 

A $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed public offering price of US$              per ADS would increase (decrease) total consideration paid by new investors, total consideration paid by all shareholders, average price per ordinary share and average price per ADS paid by all shareholders by US$              million, US$              million, US$              and US$              , respectively, assuming the sale of ADSs at US$              , the mid-point of the range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, and after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and other offering expenses payable by us.

 

The pro forma information discussed above is illustrative only. Our net tangible book value following the completion of this offering is subject to adjustment based on the actual initial public offering price of the ADSs and other terms of this offering determined at pricing.

 

The discussion and tables above assume no exercise of any share options that may be granted under the 2020 Share Incentive Plan. See “Management—Share Incentive Plan” for details. To the extent that any of options to be granted under the 2020 Share Incentive Plan are exercised, there will be further dilution to new investors.

 

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ENFORCEABILITY OF CIVIL LIABILITIES

 

We are incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands to take advantage of certain benefits associated with being a Cayman Islands exempted company:

 

political and economic stability;

 

an effective judicial system;

 

a favorable tax system;

 

the absence of exchange control or currency restrictions; and

 

the availability of professional and support services.

 

However, certain disadvantages accompany incorporation in the Cayman Islands. These disadvantages include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

the Cayman Islands has a less exhaustive body of securities laws than the United States and these securities laws provide significantly less protection to investors; and

 

Cayman Islands companies may not have standing to sue before the federal courts of the United States.

 

Our constitutional documents do not contain provisions requiring that disputes, including those arising under the securities laws of the United States, between us, our officers, directors and shareholders, be arbitrated.

 

We conduct substantially all of our operations outside the United States, and substantially all of our assets are located outside the United States. Substantially all of our officers are nationals or residents of jurisdictions other than the United States and a substantial portion of their assets are located outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for a shareholder to effect service of process within the United States upon us or these persons, or to enforce against us or them judgments obtained in United States courts, including judgments predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any state in the United States.

 

We have appointed                    , located at                         , as our agent upon whom process may be served in any action brought against us under the securities laws of the United States.

 

Cayman Islands

 

Conyers Dill & Pearman, our counsel as to Cayman Islands law has advised us that there is uncertainty as to whether the courts in the Cayman Islands would (1) recognize or enforce judgments of United States courts obtained against us or our directors or officers to impose liabilities against us predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any state in the United States; or (2) entertain original actions brought in each respective jurisdiction against us or our directors or officers predicated upon the federal securities laws of the United States or the securities laws of any state in the United States.

 

Conyers Dill & Pearman, our counsel as to Cayman Islands laws, has further advised us that although there is no statutory enforcement in the Cayman Islands of judgments obtained in the federal or state courts of the United States (and the Cayman Islands are not a party to any treaties for the reciprocal enforcement or recognition of such judgments), the courts of the Cayman Islands would recognize as a valid judgment, a final and conclusive judgment in personam obtained in the federal or state courts in the United States under which a sum of money is payable (other than a sum of money payable in respect of multiple damages, taxes or other charges of a like nature or in respect of a fine or other penalty) or, in certain circumstances, an in personam judgment for non-monetary relief, and would give a judgment based thereon provided that (a) such courts had proper jurisdiction over the parties subject to such judgment, (b) such courts did not contravene the rules of natural justice of the Cayman Islands, (c) such judgment was not obtained by fraud, (d) the enforcement of the judgment would not be contrary to the public policy of the Cayman Islands, (e) no new admissible evidence relevant to the action is submitted prior to the rendering of the judgment by the courts of the Cayman Islands, and (f) there is due compliance with the correct procedures under the laws of the Cayman Islands. However, the Cayman Islands courts are unlikely to enforce a punitive judgment of a United States court predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the federal securities laws in the United States without retrial on the merits if such judgment is determined by the courts of the Cayman Islands to give rise to obligations to make payments that may be regarded as fines, penalties or punitive in nature.

 

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The PRC

 

Jingtian & Gongcheng has advised us that the PRC Civil Procedures Law governs the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. PRC courts may recognize and enforce foreign judgments in accordance with the PRC Civil Procedures Law based either on treaties between China and the country where the judgment is made or on principles of reciprocity between jurisdictions.

 

The PRC does not have any treaties or other agreements with the United States or the Cayman Islands that provide for the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. In addition, according to the PRC Civil Procedures Law, courts in the PRC will not enforce a foreign judgment against us or our directors and officers if they determine that the judgment violates the basic principles of PRC law or national sovereignty, security or public interest. As a result, it is uncertain whether a PRC court would enforce a judgment rendered by a court in the United States or the Cayman Islands. Under the PRC Civil Procedures Law, foreign shareholders may originate actions based on PRC law against us in the PRC, if they can establish sufficient nexus to the PRC for a PRC court to have jurisdiction, and meet other procedural requirements, including, among others, the plaintiff must have a direct interest in the case, and there must be a concrete claim, a factual basis and a cause for the suit.

 

In addition, it will be difficult for U.S. shareholders to originate actions against us in China in accordance with PRC laws because we are incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands and it will be difficult for U.S. shareholders, by virtue only of holding the ADSs or our ordinary shares, to establish a connection to China for a PRC court to have jurisdiction as required under the PRC Civil Procedures Law.

 

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CORPORATE HISTORY AND STRUCTURE

 

Corporate History

 

In January 2010, Mr. Dong Hu, our chairman of board of directors and chief executive officer, founded Zhejiang Ebang Communication Technology Co., Ltd., or Zhejiang Ebang, which established Zhejiang Ebang Information Technology Co., Ltd., or Ebang IT, to conduct development and sales of communications network access devices and related equipment. In early 2014, in view of the burgeoning opportunities in the blockchain industry, we began to conduct research and feasibility studies on the blockchain business and develop blockchain computing equipment. In August 2015, Zhejiang Ebang was listed in China on the National Equities Exchange and Quotations Co., Ltd., or the NEEQ. In August 2016, we acquired 51.05% of the equity interest in Hangzhou Dewang Information Technology Co., Ltd., or Hangzhou Dewang, through our capital injection in Hangzhou Dewang. In March 2018, Zhejiang Ebang was delisted from the NEEQ in preparation for the reorganization.

 

On May 17, 2018, we incorporated Ebang International Holdings Inc., our holding company, as an exempted company with limited liability in the Cayman Islands. In 2018, we underwent a series of corporate reorganization for our initial public offering, including incorporation of our company as the listing vehicle, incorporation of our oversea holding companies and issuance of shares to shareholders of Ebang Hongfa to reflect their respective shareholdings before the reorganization. We completed the reorganization in May 2018.

 

Corporate Structure

 

Ebang International Holdings Inc. is a holding company incorporated in Cayman Islands which does not have substantive operations. We conduct our businesses through our subsidiaries. Our principal subsidiaries consist of the following entities (in chronological order based on their dates of incorporation):

 

Zhejiang Ebang Communication Technology Co., Ltd., or Zhejiang Ebang, our majority-owned subsidiary and an onshore holding company established in the PRC on January 21, 2010 principally for holding our businesses in the design, manufacture and sale of telecommunications and blockchain processing equipment;

 

Zhejiang Ebang Information Technology Co., Ltd., or Ebang IT, our majority-owned subsidiary and an operating entity established in the PRC on August 11, 2010 principally for the design, manufacture and sale of telecommunications and blockchain processing equipment;

 

Hangzhou Dewang Information Technology Co., Ltd., or Hangzhou Dewang, our majority-owned subsidiary and an operating entity established in the PRC on December 31, 2015 principally for the design and manufacture of blockchain chips;

 

Hong Kong Bite Co., Ltd., or HK Bite, our wholly-owned subsidiary and an operating entity established in Hong Kong on February 12, 2016 principally for the trading of blockchain chips;

 

Yunnan Ebang Information Technology Co., Ltd., or Yunnan Ebang, our majority-owned subsidiary and an operating entity established in the PRC on June 28, 2016 principally for the assembly line of blockchain processing equipment and warehouse;

 

Wuhai Ebang Information Technology Co., Ltd., or Wuhai Ebang, our wholly-owned subsidiary and an operating entity established in the PRC on September 18, 2017 principally for the assembly line of blockchain processing equipment; and

 

Hangzhou Ebang Jusheng Technology Co., Ltd., or Ebang Jusheng, our wholly-owned subsidiary and an operating entity established in the PRC on January 3, 2018 principally for the trading of telecommunications and blockchain processing equipment.

 

67

 

 

As of the date of this prospectus, we conduct our business operations primarily through 15 subsidiaries.

 

The chart below summarizes our corporate structure and identifies the principal subsidiaries described above as of the date of this prospectus:

 

 

 

(1) The remaining 48.95% equity interest is owned by Huzhou Meiman Investment Management LLP, an unaffiliated third party.

(2) The remaining 0.0036% equity interest is owned by an unaffiliated individual.

 

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SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL AND OPERATING DATA

 

The following selected consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive loss data and cash flow data for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2019 and summary consolidated balance sheets data as of December 31, 2018 and 2019 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

 

Our consolidated financial statements are prepared and presented in accordance with the U.S. GAAP. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of results for any future period.

 

Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of results to be expected for any future period. The following summary consolidated financial data for the periods and as of the dates indicated are qualified by reference to, and should be read in conjunction with, our consolidated financial statements and the related notes and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included elsewhere in this prospectus.

 

Selected Consolidated Statements of Operations and Comprehensive Loss

 

    Years Ended December 31,  
    2018     2019  
    US$     US$  
    (in thousands)  
Revenues     319,042       109,060  
Product sales – Bitcoin mining machines and related accessories     307,127       89,919  
Product sales – Telecommunications     3,730       3,336  
Service – Management and maintenance     8,185       15,804  
Cost of revenues     (294,596 )     (139,624 )
Gross profit (loss)     24,446       (30,564 )
Operating expenses:                
Selling expenses     4,096       1,213  
General and administrative expenses     51,411       18,871  
Total operating expenses     55,507       20,084  
Loss from operations     (31,061 )     (50,648 )
Other income (expenses):                
Interest income     454       217  
Interest expenses     (921 )     (2,041 )
Other income     1,140       85  
Exchange gain (loss)     (404 )     5,694  
Government grants     799       6,299  
VAT refund     27,368       9  
Other expenses     (8,289 )     (288 )
Total other income     20,146       9,975  
Loss before income taxes provision     (10,915 )     (40,673 )
Income taxes provision     900       400  
Net loss     (11,814 )     (41,073 )
Less: net income attributable to non-controlling interest     494       1,330
Net loss attributable to Ebang International Holdings Inc.     (12,308 )     (42,403 )

 

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Selected Consolidated Balance Sheets

 

    As of December 31,  
    2018     2019  
    US$     US$  
    (in thousands)  
Current assets:            
Cash and cash equivalents     9,998       3,464  
Restricted cash, current     7,272       2,271  
Accounts receivable, net     21,577       8,128  
Advances to suppliers     2,627       1,062  
Inventories, net     66,269       13,089  
VAT recoverables     16,099       21,954  
Prepayments     797       13,273  
Other current assets, net     396       224  
Total current assets     125,033       63,465  
Non-current assets:                
Property, plant and equipment, net     16,998       13,225  
Intangible assets, net     4,700       3,784  
Total non-current assets     24,426       19,146  
Total assets     149,459       82,611  
Accounts payable     43,630       11,832  
Notes payable     7,725       -  
Accrued liabilities and other payables     8,319       13,739  
Loans due within one year, less unamortized debt issuance costs     15,314       4,865  
Due to related party     -     6,243  
Advances from customers     2,010       1,016  
Total current liabilities     76,998       39,047  
Total non-current liabilities     4,629       17,994  
Total liabilities     81,627       57,040  
Total shareholders’ equity     67,832       25,571  
Total liabilities and shareholders’ equity     149,459       82,611  

 

Selected Consolidated Statements of Cash Flow

 

    Years Ended December 31,  
    2018     2019  
    US$     US$  
    (in thousands)  
Net cash used in operating activities     (108,232 )     (13,260 )
Net cash used in investing activities     (6,285 )     (5,809 )
Net cash provided by financing activities     13,960       8,548  
Net decrease in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash     (113,528 )     (13,703 )
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at the beginning of the year     133,009       19,481  
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at the end of the year     19,481       5,778  

 

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Key Operating Data

 

The following table sets forth the sales volume and average selling prices per unit generated by our different Bitcoin mining machines for the periods indicated:

 

    Years Ended
December 31,
 
    2018     2019  
    Sales Volume     Average Selling Price
per Unit
    Sales Volume     Average Selling Price
per Unit
 
    (set)     (US$)     (set)     (US$)  
Ebit E9+     139,764       721       2,000       102  
Ebit E9 series(1)     231,351       178       151,233       74  
Ebit E10 series(2)     44,815       3,676       87,293       341  
Ebit E12     -       -       49,427       948  
Total     415,930       737       289,953       304  

 

 

(1)Mainly include Ebit E9.1, Ebit E9.2, Ebit E9.3, Ebit E9.5, Ebit E9i and Ebit E9i+ mining machines.

(2)Mainly include Ebit E10 and Ebit E10+ series mining machines, including Ebit E10.1, Ebit E10.2, Ebit E10.3 and Ebit E10.5.

 

The following table sets forth the total computing power sold and average selling prices per Thash of our Bitcoin mining machines expressed in terms of computing power for the periods indicated:

 

    Years Ended
December 31,
 
    2018     2019  
    Total Computing Power Sold     Average Selling Price per Thash     Total Computing Power Sold     Average Selling Price per Thash  
    (Thash/s)     (US$)     (Thash/s)     (US$)  
Ebit E9+     1,257,876       80       18,000       11  
Ebit E9 series(1)     2,996,713       14       2,015,935       6  
Ebit E10 series(2)     806,670       204       1,763,727       17  
Ebit E12     -       -       2,174,788       22  
Total     5,061,259       61       5,972,450       15  

 

 

(1)Mainly include Ebit E9.1, Ebit E9.2, Ebit E9.3, Ebit E9.5, Ebit E9i and Ebit E9i+ mining machines.

(2)Mainly include Ebit E10 and Ebit E10+ series mining machines, including Ebit E10.1, Ebit E10.2, Ebit E10.3 and Ebit E10.5.

 

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MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

 

You should read the following discussion and analysis of our results of operations and financial condition in conjunction with the section entitled “Selected Consolidated Financial and Operating Data” and our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus. This discussion contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results and the timing of selected events could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including those set forth under “Risk Factors,” “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” and elsewhere in this prospectus.

 

Overview

 

We are a leading ASIC chip design company and a leading manufacturer of high performance Bitcoin mining machines, according to the F&S report. We have strong ASIC chip design capability underpinned by nearly a decade of industry experience and expertise in the telecommunications business. We are one of the few fabless IC design companies with the advanced technology to independently design ASIC chips, established access to third-party wafer foundry capacity and a proven in-house capability to produce blockchain and telecommunications products, according to the F&S report. We have dedicated our technology and efforts to ASIC applications for Bitcoin mining machines and were a leading Bitcoin mining machine producer in the global market in terms of computing power sold in 2019, according to the F&S report.

 

We are a pioneer in researching and developing ASIC chip technology used in blockchain applications in China. We are also one of the earliest contract manufacturers of Bitcoin mining machines in China to own proprietary ASIC chips, according to the F&S report. Our Ebit E10 model, launched in December 2017, was the first commercially available mining machine to use 10 nm ASIC chips among major mining machine producers, according to the F&S report. Our latest commercialized Ebit E12 series mining machines, which incorporate the most recent iteration of our proprietary 10 nm ASIC chips, are capable of a hash rate of up to 50 TH/s and achieves a computing power efficiency of 57W/TH. We have completed the design of our 8 nm ASIC chips and 7 nm ASIC chips and are ready to mass-produce our proprietary 8 nm ASIC chips when the market conditions become suitable. We currently focus on developing our proprietary 5 nm ASIC chips and mining machines for non-Bitcoin cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin and Monero. We will continue to devote significant resources to new technological innovations in blockchain technology.

 

We generate revenues primarily from our blockchain products business, which comprises sales of mining machines and related modules and accessories, and provision of mining machine hosting services. Our revenues were US$319.0 million and US$109.1 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively. We had gross profit of US$24.4 million in 2018 and gross loss of US$30.6 million in 2019. We had net losses of US$11.8 million and US$41.1 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

 

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Key Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations

 

In addition to the general factors affecting the Chinese and global economy and our industry, our results of operations and financial condition are affected by a number of industry- and company-specific factors, including those set out below:

 

Fluctuation of Bitcoin price and expected economic returns on Bitcoin mining activities

 

Our revenues primarily consist of proceeds of sales of Bitcoin mining machines, which are, in general, determined by the demand and pricing of our Bitcoin mining machines. An increase in the economic return of Bitcoin mining activities would generally stimulate the demand and average selling price for our Bitcoin mining machines, and vice versa. An increase in the Bitcoin price is the most significant factor that could increase the expected economic returns generated by Bitcoin mining activities. Other factors that may increase the economic return of Bitcoin mining activities include, among others, increase in transaction fees, decrease in electricity costs or other operating costs, increase in computing power and efficiency of mining machines, reduction of difficulties of mining activities and increase in number of Bitcoin awarded for mining activities.

 

Historically, fluctuation of the Bitcoin price significantly affected our results of operations and financial condition; in particular, a significant drop in Bitcoin price resulted in a material negative effect on results of operation. We generated revenues of US$307.1 million from our blockchain products business in 2018, mainly attributable to the increase in user needs for mining machines with better performance in terms of computing power, efficiency and heat radiation, among others, and the general increase in market demand in response to high Bitcoin price in 2017. Due to the significant drop in the average Bitcoin price in 2018 and the first quarter of 2019, our revenues from our blockchain products business decreased significantly to US$89.9 million in 2019. In addition, our results of operations also generally lag behind the change of the Bitcoin price. Historically, a strong increase in the Bitcoin price in late 2017 drove the significant increase in both the demand for and the average selling price of our Bitcoin mining machines in the first half of 2018, and a sudden decrease in the Bitcoin price in 2018 led to a lower demand and average selling price of Bitcoin mining machines in late 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. The average price of Bitcoins experienced recovery from the second quarter of 2019. The recent market panics over the global outbreak of COVID-19, however, have caused a drastic drop in the Bitcoin price in March 2020. We expect our business and results of operations may be materially and negatively affected by the global market panics in the near term. See “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our business and Industry—The recent global coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak has caused significant disruptions in our business, which we expect will materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.”

 

A decrease in the Bitcoin price and expected economic returns of Bitcoin mining activities may also lead to increase in inventory write-down, credit sales and write-down of advances to suppliers as a result of stagnant demand and decrease in average selling price for our Bitcoin mining machines, which may significantly affect our gross margin and extend the billing cycle of our products. Due to the significant decrease of the average Bitcoin price in 2018 and the first quarter of 2019, we recorded write-down for the potentially obsolete, slow-moving inventory and lower of cost or market adjustment of US$61.8 million and US$6.3 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively, and recorded net loss of US$11.8 million and US$41.1 million for the same periods, respectively. Such Bitcoin price drop also led to our offering of credit sales to customers in China, instead of full prepayment before delivery of products. In 2018 and 2019, we reflected the reduction of revenue associated with credit sales as price concession on our consolidated financial statements, and the amount of price concession provided to our customers was US$12.1 million and nil, respectively. We may also recognize contract liabilities as revenues in the subsequent reporting periods. In 2018 and 2019, we recognized US$121.6 million and US$1.8 million of contract liabilities as revenues, respectively. As of December 31, 2018 and 2019, we recorded contract liabilities of US$2.0 million and US$1.0 million, respectively, which was presented as advances from customers on the consolidated balance sheets.

 

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Bitcoin price fluctuated significantly in the past few years and resulted in a corresponding fluctuation in our sale of Bitcoin mining machines. We expect that the Bitcoin price may continue to fluctuate in the future, and as such, we would expect to continue to experience a significant corresponding fluctuation in both sales volumes and average selling prices of Bitcoin mining machines, as well as write-down of inventory, which may erode our profitability in the case of a significant Bitcoin price drop.

 

Market demand for our mining machines and development of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency markets, especially Bitcoin market

 

Our current blockchain product is designed for Bitcoin mining. According to the F&S report, sales of Bitcoin computing hardware, the majority of which comprise sales of Bitcoin mining machines, have surged at a CAGR of 61.3% from approximately US$0.2 billion in 2015 to approximately US$1.4 billion in 2019 and are expected to further increase at a CAGR of 24.8% to approximately US$4.3 billion in 2024. Because market demand is dependent on the development of the blockchain technology, as well as innovations in cryptocurrency applications, our results of operations will significantly depend on our ability to keep pace with market demand to attract new customers or retain existing customers as well as to maintain or increase our market share. Our results of operations will also be significantly affected by developments in overall blockchain technology and cryptocurrency markets, and in particular, the Bitcoin market. The Bitcoin market may be affected by various factors, including, among others the Bitcoin price and expected return on Bitcoin related activities such as mining and trading, different views regarding the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies, acceptance of cryptocurrencies as an investment instrument as well as a currency for payment, competing cryptocurrencies to Bitcoin, and changes in the Bitcoin algorithm and the mechanism of mining.

 

Performance and cost of our products

 

The pricing of and demand for our Bitcoin mining machines are closely related to their performance. In general, more advanced process technologies, such as the 7 nm and 8 nm process technology we designed, can accommodate designs that produce ASICs with higher power efficiency. The introduction of new process and design technologies also enables us to gradually lower the production costs of ASICs with comparable computing power. However, the application of such process technologies also commands high initial setup costs, particularly when the new production techniques first become available, which translates to higher per unit costs. We are in the process of designing 5 nm process technology. As a result, our new generation ASICs using the most advanced process technologies will need to achieve strong sales in order to justify the initial setup costs of the new production techniques and maintain our profitability. At the same time, as the most advanced production capabilities of IC foundries ramp up, the initial high unit cost for IC fabrication may also decrease, which will likely translate to lower fabrication costs and a positive effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

Competitiveness in research and development

 

We are a leading ASIC chip design company, and research and development is key to the success of our blockchain and telecommunications products. Our research and development expenses were US$43.5 million and US$13.4 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively. We continue to focus on enhancing our product planning and research and development capabilities to enable us to introduce or improve products that can well address evolving customer needs in a timely manner. As existing competitors may introduce new technologies or provide more competitive offerings and more companies may enter the market to compete with us, competition may intensify in the future and consequently our competitiveness and market share may be affected. As a result, our ability to continue offering new and enhanced ASIC chips for Bitcoin mining as well as competitive products and technologies will have a significant impact on our results of operations.

 

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Regulatory environment

 

We sell mining machines to customers in China and overseas markets. In 2018 and 2019, we generated most of our revenues in our blockchain products business from customers in China. We intend to grow our overseas sales in the future. In addition, we also intend to expand into certain new business, such as cryptocurrency mining business. As such, we need to make efforts and incur costs to comply with laws and regulations relating to our business in various jurisdictions. We are subject to certain regulatory uncertainties. See “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry—Adverse changes in the regulatory environment in the PRC market could have a material adverse impact on our blockchain products business” and “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry—The current regulatory environment in foreign markets, and any adverse changes in that environment, could have a material adverse impact on our blockchain products business.” If the PRC government or a government in any other jurisdiction changes its policy or regulations to prevent or limit the development of Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies generally, the price of Bitcoin as well as the demand for our mining machines would decrease and our business operations and financial results could be adversely affected. Therefore, our ability to comply with government policies and regulations, and to anticipate and respond to potential changes in government policies and regulations will have a significant impact on our business operations and our overall results of operations.

 

Production capacity

 

As a fabless IC design company, we outsource the fabrication process of our ICs to third-party foundry partners, and we outsource the testing and packaging process to third-party testing and packaging partners. We work closely with a limited number of such production partners. We have access to two of the world’s leading wafer foundries. We are also in discussions with another two of the world’s major wafer foundries, in hopes to diversify our supplier sources. We cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet our manufacturing requirements or capacity or that it will not raise its prices. As a result, our ability to quickly respond to market demand and meet production timelines, as well as to price our products competitively, is highly dependent on our collaboration with third-party production partners. If our production partners are unable to meet our production capacity requirements or deliver products that meet our quality standards on a timely basis, our results of operations will be adversely affected. We may also incur significant cash outflow at the early stages of our production process because we are required to make prepayments to some of our third-party production partners to secure their production capacity beforehand, which may affect our liquidity position. In addition, any failure by our third-party production partners to perform their obligations in a timely manner may subject us to counterparty risk and make it difficult or impossible for us to fulfill our customers’ orders, which would harm our reputation and negatively affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

With our long-established experience and know-how in producing telecommunications products, we have established in-house production capabilities to conduct PCB assembly and system assembly for both mining machines and a wide range of telecommunications products. The volume of our in-house production facilities to conduct PCB assembly and system assembly is largely dictated by the production capacity of our SMT production lines in Hangzhou. We also outsourced some of our production to third-party subcontractors to meet our additional production needs. Our future growth will depend, in part, on our ability to maintain efficient operations at our existing production facilities, our ability to expand our production capacity as needed and the performance of our subcontractors when we are required to outsource part of our production. We seek sufficient production capacity and effectively adjust our production equipment to produce different types of products. We are currently expanding our production capacity by constructing new production facilities, which we expect will increase our capital expenditures and affect our results of operations. Our future growth and results of operations will be affected by our investment in and continual maintenance and upgrading of production facilities.

 

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Expansion and diversification of our product offerings

 

Our blockchain products business has contributed most of our revenues in the past. We intend to diversify our offerings and achieve more stable performance by expanding into the upstream and downstream markets of the blockchain technology and cryptocurrency industry value chain. We believe the success of our new businesses will be key drivers for our stable and sustainable growth for the future periods. We intend to expand our mining machine hosting services and establish a mining farm to provide centralized services to miners. We also intend to commence proprietary Bitcoin mining by employing our own mining machine inventory during the market downcycles, the success of which depends on many factors, such as the advance of computing efficiency, the fluctuation of cryptocurrency prices and the popularity of cryptocurrencies in real economy. We expect the costs for preparation and commencement of our proprietary mining mainly include energy consumption fees. We also intend to explore the application of blockchain technology into non-cryptocurrency industries, such as the financial services and healthcare industries. Although we have accumulated extensive industry experience and knowledge in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology industries, we have never entered into such industries. As a result, our ability to apply our accumulated industry knowledge and operational experience to these new businesses will be critical to our future business growth and prospects. Commencement of new businesses, however, may also incur significant cost and experience a prolonged ramp-up period. If any adverse development in such new businesses arises, our results of operations and prospects may be significantly and negatively affected.

 

Product mix

 

We develop, manufacture and sell a range of blockchain and telecommunications products. The sales of blockchain products accounted for 96.3% and 82.4% of our total revenues for 2018 and 2019, respectively, and the sales of telecommunications products accounted for 1.2% and 3.1% of our total revenues for 2018 and 2019, respectively. Results of our blockchain products business experienced significant fluctuation in response to the fluctuation on the Bitcoin price. Our profitability and financial performance could be affected by the mix of products manufactured and sold in a particular period.

 

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Key Components of Results of Operations

 

Revenues

 

Revenues represent the sales of goods supplied and services provided to customers in our blockchain products and telecommunications businesses, and provision of services to our customers, primarily mining machine hosting services. We generated revenues primarily from our blockchain products business, mainly including sales of Bitcoin mining machines and related accessories and mining machine hosting services. Although the revenue contribution from our blockchain products business decreased in 2019 as compared to 2018, primarily due to significant drop in the average Bitcoin price in 2018 and the first quarter of 2019, we expect our revenues will continue to be generated primarily from our blockchain products business in the next few years.

 

The following table sets forth the breakdown of our revenues by category, both in absolute amount and as a percentage of total revenues for each category for the periods indicated:

 

    Years Ended December 31,  
    2018     2019  
    US$     %     US$     %  
    (in thousands, except percentages)  
Product sales – Bitcoin mining machines and related accessories     307,127       96.3       89,919       82.4  
Product sales – Telecommunications     3,730       1.2       3,336       3.1  
Service – Management and maintenance(1)     8,185       2.6       15,804       14.5  
Total     319,042       100.0       109,060       100.0  

 

 

(1)Primarily includes service fee of mining machine hosting services and maintenance services. The breakdown of service revenues is set forth below for the periods indicated:

 

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    Years Ended December 31,  
    2018     2019  
    US$     %     US$     %  
    (in thousands, except percentages)  
Mining machine hosting services     7,692       94.0       15,728       99.5  
Maintenance services and others     493       6.0       77       0.5  
Total     8,185       100.0       15,804       100.0  

 

In 2018 and 2019, we generated a significant portion of our revenues from sales in China. Only a small proportion of our revenues was generated from sales to customers located in other countries and regions, including exports to Hong Kong, the United States, Central Asia and Southeast Asia. The following table sets forth the breakdown of our revenues by geographical location of our customers, both in absolute amount and as a percentage of total revenue, for the periods indicated:

 

    Years Ended December 31,  
    2018     2019  
    US$     %     US$     %  
    (in thousands, except percentages)  
China     291,523       91.4       95,373       87.5  
Overseas(1)     27,518       8.6       13,687       12.5  
Total     319,042       100.0       109,060       100.0  

 

 
(1)Includes sales to Hong Kong.

 

Product Sales Bitcoin Mining Machines and Related Accessories

 

Revenues from sales of blockchain products primarily comprises sales of Bitcoin mining machines, related modules and accessories. We generated 96.1% and 80.7% of our revenue from sales of Bitcoin mining machines in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Revenues from sales of our Bitcoin mining machines are primary affected by the number of Bitcoin mining machines sold and their average selling price. The following table sets forth the breakdown of sales volume and average selling price (per unit) of mining machines delivered for the periods indicated:

 

    Years Ended
December 31,
 
    2018     2019  
    Revenue     Sales volume     Average selling price per unit     Revenue     Sales volume     Average selling price per unit  
    (US$ in thousands)     (Unit)     (US$)     (US$ in thousands)     (Unit)     (US$)  
Mining machines:                                                
Ebit E9+     100,756       139,764       721       204       2,000       102  
Ebit E9 Series(1)     41,198       231,351       178       11,124       151,233       74  
Ebit E10 Series(2)     164,749       44,815       3,676       29,799       87,293       341  
Ebit E12     -       -             46,879       49,427       948  
Total(3)     306,703       415,930       737       88,007       289,953       304  

 

 
(1)Mainly include Ebit E9.1, Ebit E9.2, Ebit E9.3, Ebit E9.5, Ebit E9i and Ebit E9i+ series
(2)Mainly include Ebit E10 and Ebit E10+ series, including Ebit E10.1, Ebit E10.2, Ebit E10.3 and Ebit E10.5
(3)Exclude revenues from sales of in-process mining machines.

 

The average selling price of our Bitcoin mining machines changes from period to period and is primarily affected by the Bitcoin price and expected economic returns on Bitcoin mining activities, and the performance of the mining machines.

 

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The Bitcoin price and expected economic returns on Bitcoin mining activities could significant affect the demand of mining machines and in turn the average selling price of Bitcoin mining machines. See “—Key Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations” for details of factors affecting economic return on Bitcoin mining activities and the market demands. Particularly, a significant fluctuation in Bitcoin price in a short period of time could significantly reverse the trend of average selling price of Bitcoin mining machines in certain periods of time. For example, a significant drop in the Bitcoin price in 2018 and the first quarter of 2019 significantly reduced the average selling price of Bitcoin mining machines in the same periods; this was particularly the case for much lower average selling price of our Ebit E10+ series products released after the Bitcoin price drop versus the average selling price prior to the drop, despite their superior computing power.

 

In addition, the average selling price is also significantly affected by the performance of the Bitcoin mining machines. The following table sets forth the revenue, total computing power sold and average selling price (per TH/s) of our own brand mining machines for the periods indicated:

 

    Years Ended
December 31,
 
    2018     2019  
    Revenue    

Total computing

power sold

    Average selling price per TH/s     Revenue    

Total computing

power sold

    Average selling price per TH/s  
    (US$ in
thousands)
    (TH/s)     (US$)     (US$ in
thousands)
    (TH/s)     (US$)  
Mining machines:                                    
Ebit E9+     100,756       1,257,876       80       204       18,000       11  
Ebit E9 Series(1)     41,198       2,996,713       14       11,124       2,015,935       6  
Ebit E10 Series(2)     164,749       806,670       204       29,799       1,763,727       17  
Ebit E12     -       -       -       46,879       2,174,788       22  
Total(3)     306,703       5,061,259       61       88,007       5,972,450       15  

 

 

(1)Mainly include Ebit E9.1, Ebit E9.2, Ebit E9.3, Ebit E9.5, Ebit E9i and Ebit E9i+ series
(2)Mainly include Ebit E10 and Ebit E10+ series, including Ebit E10.1, Ebit E10.2, Ebit E10.3 and Ebit E10.5
(3)Exclude revenues from sales of in-process mining machines.

 

In general, the average selling price of our Bitcoin mining machines in terms of computing power decreases as a result of the overall technology advancement that led to a lower unit cost. New models launched in the markets generally exert downward pressure on prices of existing models. We typically price our Bitcoin mining machine based on their computing power and reduce the price of the previous generation when we introduce a new generation with higher computing power. For example, the average selling price of our most advanced Ebit 12 mining machine was much higher than the previous generations of Ebit 9 series and Ebit 10 series.

 

Product Sales Telecommunications

 

Revenues from our telecommunications business primarily comprises sales of fiber-optic communication access devices and enterprise convergent terminals. We also produce and sell a small portion of related parts and accessories. In 2018 and 2019, revenues from sales of fiber-optic communication access devices were 91.6% and 83.2% of our total revenues from sales of telecommunications products. Sales of our telecommunications products are primarily driven by the demand from the major telecommunications service providers in China as end users, which accounts for 80.8% and 80.1% of our total revenues for sales of telecommunications products in 2018 and 2019. Sales of telecommunications products could also be affected by any adjustment of our business focus and sales and marketing efforts from time to time. Changes in the mix of our telecommunications products sold could also affect the gross profit margin in the telecommunications business.

 

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Service - Management and Maintenance

 

Revenues from our management and maintenance services include service fees for provision of mining machine hosting services to buyers of our Bitcoin mining machines, and provision of maintenance and other services.

 

We generate substantially all of these service revenues from mining machine hosting services. In 2018 and 2019, revenues from provision of mining machine hosting services was US$7.7 million and US$15.7 million, representing 94.0% and 99.5% of our total service revenues, respectively. We currently provide mining machine hosting services only to buyers of our Bitcoin mining machines, and typically enter into separate service agreements with these buyers for such services. Revenues from mining machine hosting services mainly include hosting service fees we charge to our customers, which is primarily calculated based on the amount of power consumption (the number of kWh) and the average service fee per kWh. The average service fee per kWh is primarily affected by the utility cost. In 2018 and 2019, the average service fee per kWh was generally US$0.04 and US$0.04, respectively.

 

Cost of Revenues

 

Cost of revenues for our mining machines and telecommunications products represents costs and expenses directly attributable to the manufacture of our products sold and delivered, which primarily comprises costs of (1) raw materials, components and parts including wafers; (2) production overhead, including mainly packaging and testing costs, subcontracting cost, amortization and depreciation of intangible assets, production equipment and utilities; (3) direct labor including cost to our production staff and outsourced production workers; and (4) inventory write-down due to the significant decrease of the average Bitcoin price in 2018 and the first quarter of 2019 and in turn a significant decrease in the selling price of our Bitcoin mining machines. In 2018 and 2019, we recorded write-down for the potentially obsolete, slow-moving inventories and lower of cost or market adjustment of US$61.8 million and US$6.3 million, respectively.

 

Our average cost of mining machine per unit primarily comprise and is mainly affected by the unit cost of wafer, number of ASIC chips used, and the types and costs of other components included in or sold with the mining machines. The average per unit cost of wafers is affected by our purchase volume and technology advancement. We generally incur higher per unit cost for models with better performance. In 2018 and 2019, the average cost of our mining machine per unit was US$679 and US$416, respectively.

 

Cost of revenues for mining machine hosting services provided by us primarily consists of space leasing fees, infrastructure and equipment related expense, utility expenses and salaries paid to related staffs.

 

The following table sets forth the breakdown of our cost of revenues by category, both in absolute amount and as a percentage of the cost of revenues, for the periods indicated:

 

    Years Ended
December 31,
 
    2018     2019  
    US$     %     US$     %  
    (in thousands, except percentages)  
Product sales – Bitcoin mining machines and related accessories     283,878       96.4       123,451       88.4  
Product sales – Telecommunications     2,964       1.0       2,465       1.8  
Service – Management and maintenance     7,754       2.6       13,708       9.8  
Total     294,596       100.0       139,624       100.0  

 

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Gross Profit/Loss

 

Our gross profit of sales of Bitcoin mining machines are primarily affected by Bitcoin prices, which have a significant effect on the average selling price of our products, and, to a lesser extent, the average per unit production costs of our Bitcoin mining machines, which in turn resulted in a much lower demand and average selling price of our Bitcoin mining machines, thereby leading to lower revenues. A decrease in the Bitcoin price and expected economic returns of Bitcoin mining activities could lead to increase in write-down for the potentially obsolete, slow-moving inventories and lower of cost or market adjustment and write-down for advances to suppliers as a result of stagnant demand and decrease in average selling price for our Bitcoin. Due to the significant decrease of the average Bitcoin price in 2018 and the first quarter of 2019 and in turn a significant decrease in the selling price of our Bitcoin mining machines, we recorded write-down for the potentially obsolete, slow-moving inventories and lower of cost or market adjustment of US$61.8 million and US$6.3 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Our gross profit and gross profit margin of mining machine hosting services provided by us are primarily affected by the average service fees we charge our customers. See “—Results of Operations—Revenues—Service—Management and Maintenance” for factors that could affect the average service fee.

 

Our gross profit and gross profit margin of sales of telecommunications products are primarily affected by the market price of the product and our cost of revenues.

 

The following table sets forth our gross profit and gross profit margin by category for the periods indicated:

 

    Years Ended
December 31,
 
    2018     2019  
    US$     US$  
    (in thousands)  
Product sales – Bitcoin mining machines and related accessories     23,249       (33,531 )
Product sales – Telecommunications     766       871  
Service – Management and maintenance     431       2,097  
Total     24,446       (30,564 )

 

Operating Expenses

 

The following table sets forth our operating expenses, both in absolute amount and as a percentage of the total operating expenses, for the periods indicated:

 

    Years Ended
December 31,
 
    2018     2019  
    US$     %     US$     %  
    (in thousands, except percentages)  
Selling expenses     4,096       7.4       1,213       6.0  
General and administrative expenses(1)     51,411       92.6       18,871       94.0  
Total operating expenses     55,507       100.0       20,084       100.0  

 

 

(1)Include research and development expenses and other general and administrative expenses. See “—Results of Operations—Operating Expenses—General and Administrative Expenses” for details.

 

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Selling expenses

 

Selling expenses include (1) sales service costs incurred from provision of customer services; (2) traveling costs of our sales and marketing staff and transportation costs for delivery of blockchain and telecommunications products; and (3) salaries and benefits of our sales and marketing staff; and (4) others, such as conference costs and lease payment for our sales office.

 

General and administrative expenses

 

General and administrative expenses primarily include research and development expenses and administrative expenses. Administrative expenses include primarily (1) professional fees, mainly legal service fees and consultant service fees for provision of financing and listing related services to us; (2) salaries and benefits of our management, finance, operations and other staff and outsourced administrative staff; (3) other miscellaneous administrative expenses, such as bad debt expense, entertainment expense, utilities, and rental and office expenses; and (4) depreciation expense of property, plant and equipment and amortization primarily relating to intangible assets.

 

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Research and development expenses primarily include (1) production and procurement expenses for producing prototypes and procuring tools for IC chip design; (2) technical expenses, primarily comprising outsourcing research and development expenses relating to development of certain non-core technologies for our mining machines and telecommunications products, such as wafer fabrication and packaging and testing for ASIC chips, design of user interface, management and structural module and secondary development of certain modules and software development; (3) salaries and benefits of our research and development staff; and (4) depreciation and amortization of non-patent technology.

 

Taxation

 

Cayman Islands

 

We are incorporated in the Cayman Islands and our primary business operations are conducted through our subsidiaries. Under the current laws of the Cayman Islands, we are not subject to tax on income or capital gains arising in Cayman Islands. In addition, dividend payments are not subject to withholding tax in the Cayman Islands.

 

British Virgin Islands

 

Certain of our subsidiaries are incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, or the BVI. Under the current laws of the BVI, our subsidiaries in the BVI are not subject to tax on income or capital gain. In addition, payments of dividend by these subsidiaries to their shareholders are not subject to withholding tax in the BVI.

 

Hong Kong

 

Our subsidiaries in Hong Kong are subject to Hong Kong profits tax on the taxable income as reported in its statutory financial statements adjusted in accordance with relevant Hong Kong tax laws. The applicable tax rate is 8.25% on assessable profits arising in or derived from Hong Kong up to HK$2,000,000 and 16.5% on any part of assessable profits over HK$2,000,000. Our Hong Kong subsidiaries did not make any provisions for Hong Kong profit tax as there were no assessable profits derived from or earned in Hong Kong since inception.

 

PRC

 

Our subsidiaries in the PRC are subject to EIT on their taxable income in accordance with the relevant EIT Law. Pursuant to the EIT Law, which became effective on January 1, 2008 and was amended on December 29, 2018, a uniform 25% enterprise income tax rate is generally applicable to both foreign-invested enterprises, or FIEs and domestic enterprises, except where a special preferential rate applies. The EIT is calculated based on the entity’s global income as determined under PRC tax laws and accounting standards. EIT grants preferential tax treatment to certain High and New Technology Enterprises, or HNTEs. Under this preferential tax treatment, HNTEs are entitled to an income tax rate of 15%, subject to a requirement that they re-apply for HNTE status every three years. Zhejiang Ebang obtained the “high-tech enterprise” tax status in November 2017, which reduced its statutory income tax rate to 15% from November 2017 to November 2020. Hangzhou Dewang obtained the “high-tech enterprise” tax status in November 2018, which reduced its statutory income tax rate to 15% from November 2018 to November 2021. In addition, Ebang IT, was qualified as a software enterprise in 2018, and thus was entitled to a five-year tax holiday (full exemption for the first two years and a 50% reduction in the statutory income tax rate for the following three years) in 2018 until its software enterprise qualification expired in 2019.

 

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We were subject to value-added tax, or VAT, at a rate of 17% for the period from beginning of 2018 till end of April 2018, of 16% from May 2018 to the end of March 2019, and of 13% since April 2019 on the gross sales price of our products, less any deductible VAT we have already paid or borne. Entities that are VAT general taxpayers may offset qualified input VAT paid to suppliers against their output VAT liabilities. Net VAT balance between input VAT and output VAT is recorded as VAT payable if output VAT is larger than input VAT, and is recorded as VAT recoverable if input VAT is larger than output VAT. All the VAT returns filed by our subsidiaries in China, have been and remain subject to examination by the tax authorities. Zhejiang Ebang and Ebang IT are qualified as enterprises of selling self-developed software products and enjoying a tax refund for the excess of 3% of their actual tax burden after the VAT is levied at the 17% or 16% or 13% tax rate since January 2011.

 

Dividends paid by our wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries in China to our intermediary holding companies in Hong Kong will be subject to a withholding tax rate of 10%, unless the relevant Hong Kong entities satisfy all the requirements under the Arrangement between the PRC and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and Capital and receives approval from the relevant tax authority, in which case the dividends paid to the Hong Kong subsidiaries would be subject to withholding tax at the preferential rate of 5%. Effective from November 1, 2015, the above-mentioned approval requirement has been abolished, but a Hong Kong entity is still required to file application package with the relevant tax authority, and settle the overdue taxes if the preferential 5% tax rate is denied based on the subsequent review of the application package by the relevant tax authority.

 

If our holding company in the Cayman Islands or any of our subsidiaries outside of China were deemed to be a “resident enterprise” under the EIT Law, it would be subject to enterprise income tax on its worldwide income at a rate of 25%. If the PRC tax authorities determine that our Cayman Islands holding company is a “resident enterprise” for PRC EIT purposes, a number of unfavorable PRC tax consequences could follow. See “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry—We may be subject to EIT on our worldwide income if our company or any of our subsidiaries were considered a PRC “resident enterprise” under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law, or the EIT Law.”

 

Critical Accounting Policies

 

An accounting policy is considered critical if it requires an accounting estimate to be made based on assumptions about matters that are highly uncertain at the time such estimate is made, and if different accounting estimates that reasonably could have been used, or changes in the accounting estimates that are reasonably likely to occur periodically, could materially impact the consolidated financial statements.

 

We prepare our financial statements in conformity with the U.S. GAAP, which requires us to make judgments, estimates and assumptions. We continually evaluate these estimates and assumptions based on the most recently available information, our own historical experiences and various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. Since the use of estimates is an integral component of the financial reporting process, actual results could differ from our expectations as a result of changes in our estimates. Some of our accounting policies require a higher degree of judgment than others in their application and require us to make significant accounting estimates.

 

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The following descriptions of critical accounting policies, judgments and estimates should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes and other disclosures included in this prospectus. When reviewing our financial statements, you should consider our selection of critical accounting policies, the judgments and other uncertainties affecting the application of such policies, and the sensitivity of reported results to changes in conditions and assumptions.

 

The consolidated financial statements include the financial statements of our company and our subsidiaries for which we or a subsidiary of ours is the primary beneficiary.

 

Revenue Recognition

 

We have adopted the new revenue standard, ASC 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606) for all periods presented. Consistent with the criteria of Topic 606, we recognize revenue to depict the transfer of promised goods or services to customers in an amount that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to receive in exchange for those goods or services. Value-added tax that we collect concurrent with revenue-producing activities is excluded from revenue.

 

Product Revenue

 

We generate revenue primarily from the sales of Bitcoin mining machines and related accessories directly to a customer, such as a business or individual engaged in Bitcoin mining activities. We recognize product revenue at a point in time when the control of the products has been transferred to customers. The transfer of control is considered complete when products have been picked up by or shipped to our customers. Our sales arrangements for Bitcoin mining machines usually require a full prepayment before the delivery of products. The advance payment is not considered a significant financing component because the period between the time when we transfer a promised good to a customer and when the customer pays for that good is short. We generally do not offer a price concession to customers. However, as the Bitcoin price experienced a significant downtrend during 2018, we started to offer credit sales to customers. The payment terms under credit sales generally consist of full payment of consideration within one year after shipping date. For credit sales arrangements with certain significant long standing customers in China, in order to maintain good customer relationship and due to the continuously decease in Bitcoin price, we were willing to accept a lower amount of consideration (as compared to fixed and promised consideration that is set out in the sales contracts) after the delivery of Bitcoin mining machines; hence providing price concession to these significant long standing customers. Pursuant to ASC 606-10-32-5, if the consideration promised in a contract includes a variable amount, an entity shall estimate the amount of consideration to which the entity will be entitled in exchange for transferring the promised goods to a customer. An entity that expects to provide a price concession, or has a practice of doing so, should reduce the transaction price to reflect the consideration to which it expects to be entitled after the concession is provided. The credit sales arrangements with these significant long-standing customers were completed as of December 31, 2018. We have reflected the reduction of revenue resulting from the price concession on our consolidated financial statements for all periods presented. In 2018 and 2019, we recognized price concession provided to our customers in the amounts of US$12.1 million and nil, respectively.

 

We also generate revenue from the sales of telecommunications products directly to a customer, such as a business or individual engaged in telecommunications businesses. We recognize revenue at a point in time when products are delivered and customer acceptance is made. For the sales arrangements of telecommunications products, we generally require payment upon issuance of invoices.

 

We elected to account for shipping and handling fees that occur after the customers have obtained control of goods, for instance, free onboard shipping point arrangements, as a fulfilment cost and accrues for such costs.

 

Service Revenue

 

We also generate a small portion of revenue from management and maintenance services under separate contracts. Revenue from management and maintenance services include service fees for provision of mining machine hosting services to our customers, and provision of maintenance service. Revenue from the maintenance service to the customer is recognized at a point in time when services are provided. Revenue from the management service to the customer is recognized as the performance obligation is satisfied over time over the service period.

 

Revenue Disaggregation

 

Management has concluded that the disaggregation level is the same under both the revenue standard and the segment reporting standard. Revenue under the segment reporting standard is measured on the same basis as under the revenue standard. We operate in a single operating segment that includes the selling of Bitcoin mining machines and related accessories, telecommunications products and provision of management and maintenance services.

 

Contract Liabilities

 

Contract liabilities are recorded when consideration is received from a customer prior to transferring the goods or services to the customer or other conditions under the terms of a sales contract. As of December 31, 2018 and 2019, we recorded contract liabilities of US$2.0 million and US$1.0 million, respectively, which was presented as the advances from customers on the accompanying consolidated balance sheets. In 2018 and 2019, we recognized US$121.6 million and US$1.8 million of contract liabilities as revenue, respectively.

 

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Inventories, net

 

Inventory consists of finished goods, work in process and raw materials. Inventory is stated at the lower of cost and net realizable value. Cost of inventory is determined using the weighted average cost method. Adjustments are recorded to write down the cost of inventory to the estimated net realizable value due to slow-moving and obsolete inventory, which is dependent upon factors such as historical and forecasted consumer demand, and promotional environment. We take ownership, risks and rewards of the products purchased.

 

Accounts Receivable and Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

 

Accounts receivable are stated at the historical carrying amount net of allowance for doubtful accounts.

 

We maintain an allowance for doubtful accounts which reflects its best estimate of amounts that potentially will not be collected. We determine the allowance for doubtful accounts taking into consideration various factors including but not limited to historical collection experience and creditworthiness of the debtors as well as the age of the individual receivables balance. Additionally, we make specific bad debt provisions based on any specific knowledge we have acquired that might indicate that an account is uncollectible. The facts and circumstances of each account may require us to use substantial judgment in assessing its collectability.

 

Advances to Suppliers

 

Advances to suppliers are cash deposited for future inventory purchases, and are determined by management that such advances will not be in receipts of inventory or refundable, we will recognize an allowance account to reserve such balances. Management reviews its advances to suppliers on a regular basis to determine if the allowance is adequate, and adjusts the allowance when necessary. As of December 31, 2018 and 2019, no such indication available and no allowance was recognized.

 

Prepayments

 

Prepayments are mainly consisted of prepaid income tax and prepayments for purchase of property, plant and equipment. 

 

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Selling and Handling Expenses

 

Selling and handling costs are expensed as incurred and included in selling expenses. Selling and handling costs was US$1.2 million and US$0.1 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively.  

 

General and Administrative Expenses

 

General and administrative expenses consist primarily of research and development expenses, salary and welfare for general and administrative personnel, rental expenses, depreciation and amortization in associated with general and administrative personnel, allowance for doubtful accounts, entertainment expense, general office expense and professional service fees. We recognize research and development expenses as expense when incurred. Research and development expenses was US$43.5 million and US$13.4 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

 

Operating Leases

 

Prior to the adoption of ASC 842 on January 1, 2019, leases including, mainly leases of factory buildings, offices and employee dormitories where substantially all the rewards and risks of ownership of assets remain with the lessor, are accounted for as operating leases. Payments made under operating leases are recognized as an expense on a straight-line basis over the lease term. We had no finance leases for any of the periods stated herein.

 

Since the adoption of ASC 842 on January 1, 2019, we determine if an arrangement is a lease at inception. Operating leases are included in operating lease right-of-use, or ROU assets, operating lease liability, and operating lease liability, non-current in our consolidated balance sheets. ROU assets represent our right to use an underlying asset for the lease term and lease liabilities represent our obligation to make lease payments arising from the lease. Operating lease ROU assets and liabilities are recognized at commencement date based on the present value of lease payments over the lease term. When determining the lease term, we include options to extend or terminate the lease when it is reasonably certain that it will exercise that option, if any. As our leases do not provide an implicit rate, we used an incremental borrowing rate based on the information available at commencement date in determining the present value of lease payments. We have elected to adopt the following lease policies in conjunction with the adoption of ASU 2016-02: (1) for leases that have lease terms of 12 months or less and does not include a purchase option that is reasonably certain to exercise, we elected not to apply ASC 842 recognition requirements; and (2) we elected to apply the package of practical expedients for existing arrangements entered into prior to January 1, 2019 to not reassess (a) whether an arrangement is or contains a lease, (b) the lease classification applied to existing leases, and (c) initial direct costs.

 

Results of Operations

 

The following table sets forth our selected consolidated profit or loss data, both in absolute amount and as a percentage of total revenue, for the periods indicated. This information should be read together with our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus. The operating results in any period are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected for any future period.

 

    Years Ended
December 31,
 
    2018     2019  
    US$     US$  
    (in thousands)  
Revenues:            
Product sales – Bitcoin mining machines and related accessories     307,127       89,919  
Product sales – Telecommunications     3,730       3,336  
Service – Management and maintenance     8,185       15,804  
Total Revenues     319,042       109,060  
Cost of revenues     (294,596 )     (139,624 )
Gross profit (loss)     24,446       (30,564 )

 

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    Years Ended
December 31,
 
    2018     2019  
    US$     US$  
    (in thousands)  
Operating expenses:            
Selling expenses     4,096       1,213  
General and administrative expenses     51,411       18,871  
Total operating expenses     55,507       20,084  
Loss from operations     (31,061 )     (50,648 )
Other income (expenses):                
Interest income     454       217  
Interest expenses     (921 )     (2,041 )
Other income     1,140       85  
Exchange gain (loss)     (404 )     5,694  
Government grants     799       6,299  
VAT refund     27,368       9  
Other expenses     (8,289 )     (288 )
Total other income     20,146       9,975  
Loss before income taxes provision     (10,915 )     (40,673 )
Income taxes provision     900       400  
Net loss     (11,814 )     (41,073 )
Less: net income attributable to non-controlling interest     494       1,330  
Net loss attributable to Ebang International Holdings Inc.     (12,308 )     (42,403 )

 

Year Ended December 31, 2019 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2018

 

Revenues. Our revenues decreased by 65.8% to US$109.1 million in 2019 from US$319.0 million in 2018, primarily due to (1) the significant decrease in sales volume of our Bitcoin mining machines from approximately 0.4 million to 0.3 million, and (2) the significant decrease in average selling price of our Bitcoin mining machines per TH/s from US$61.0 to US$15.0, both of which was mainly driven by the decrease in the demand for Bitcoin mining machines in 2019 as a result of the volatility of the Bitcoin price in 2018 and in 2019 and the decrease in the economic returns from Bitcoin mining activities. The decrease in revenues was partially offset by the significant increase in management and maintenance service fees generated from our mining machine hosting services.

 

Cost of revenues. Our cost of revenues decreased by 52.6% to US$139.6 million in 2019 from US$294.6 million in 2018, primarily due to (1) the significant decrease in sales of Bitcoin mining machines and (2) the decrease in inventory write-down in 2019.

 

Gross profit/loss. As a result of the foregoing, we recorded a gross loss of US$30.6 million in 2019 as compared to a gross profit of US$24.4 million in 2018.

 

Operating expenses. Our total operating expenses decreased by 63.8% to US$20.1 million in 2019 from US$55.5 million in 2018, primarily due to the decrease in our research and development expenses and sales and marking expenses.

 

Selling expenses. Our selling expenses decreased by 70.4% to US$1.2 million in 2019 from US$4.1 million in 2018, primarily due to the significant decrease in sales and marketing expenses for promotion of our sales in the markets outside China.

 

General and administrative expenses. Our general and administrative expenses decreased by 63.3% to US$18.9 million in 2019 from US$51.4 million in 2018, primarily due to the significant decrease in our research and development expenses to US$13.4 million in 2019 from US$43.5 million in 2018, which was mainly because (1) most of our expenses for designing new IC chips were incurred in 2018 and (2) the research and development activities in 2019 focused primarily on upgrading existing IC chips, which generally costs less than designing new IC chips.

 

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Loss from operations. As a result of the foregoing, our loss from operations increased by 63.1% to US$50.6 million in 2019 from US$31.1 million in 2018.

 

Interest income. Our interest income decreased by 52.2% to US$0.2 million in 2019 from US$0.5 million in 2018, primarily due to the decease in the balance of cash and cash equivalents in 2019 as compared to 2018.

 

Interest expenses. Our interest expenses increased significantly to US$2.0 million in 2019 from US$0.9 million in 2018, primarily due to the increase in the principal amounts of loans we borrowed in 2019.

 

Other income. Our other income decreased significantly to US$0.1 million in 2019 from US$1.1 million in 2018, primarily due to the decrease in the investment income from wealth management products we purchased in 2019.

 

Exchange gain (loss). The exchange loss of US$0.4 million in 2018 turned into an exchange gain of US$5.7 million in 2019, primarily due to the currency fluctuation on our non-RMB denominated assets and liabilities.

 

Government grant. Our government grant increased significantly to US$6.3 million in 2019 from US$0.8 million in 2018, primarily due to the non-recurring local government’s rebates for our outstanding performance in 2018.

 

VAT refund. Under the value-added tax refund policy, sellers of proprietary software products enjoy a tax refund for the excess of 3% of their actual tax burden after the VAT, is levied at the specific tax rate. Our VAT refund decreased significantly to US$9,138 in 2019 from US$27.4 million in 2018, primarily due to the significant decrease in sales volume and sales price of our products in 2019 which caused less VAT output tax as compared to the VAT input tax recognized and less VAT paid in 2019.

 

Other expenses. Our other expenses decreased significantly to US$0.3 million in 2019 from US$8.3 million in 2018, primarily because there was a significant revenue write-off in 2018 as compared with that in 2019, which resulted in a significant write-off in the corresponding VAT receivables recognized as other expenses. The amount of VAT receivable write-off decreased by US$7.9 million in 2019.

 

Net loss. As a result of the foregoing, our net loss increased significantly to US$41.1 million in 2019 from US$11.8 million in 2018.

 

Liquidity and Capital Resources

 

Our primary source of liquidity historically has been cash generated from our business operations, bank loans, equity contributions from our shareholders and borrowings, which have historically been sufficient to meet our working capital and capital expenditure requirements.

 

As of December 31, 2019, our cash and cash equivalents were US$3.5 million, respectively. Our cash and cash equivalents primarily consist of cash on hand, money market funds, and highly liquid investments placed with banks, which are unrestricted to withdrawal and use and have original maturities of less than three months.

 

In 2018, we entered into several short-term credit loan agreements with a commercial bank in China with an aggregate principal amount of approximately US$10.9 million at an interest rate ranging from 4.35% to 6.5250% per annum for our working capital purpose. We fully repaid the principal and interests as of December 31, 2019.

 

In 2018, we entered into a facility agreement with an amount up to HK$117.7 million with HTI Advisory Company Limited (formerly known as Haitong International Credit Company Limited) for the purpose of our reorganization. We drew down a loan in Hong Kong dollars with a principal amount equivalent to approximately US$13.2 million under this facility. The maturity date of the facility agreement was January 10, 2020, and the effective interest rate is 8.6641% per annum. The facility was secured by all of the assets, rights, title, interests and benefits of HK Ebang Technology, our shares owned by Top Max Limited, a company controlled by Mr. Dong Hu, and personal guarantee by Mr. Dong Hu, our controlling shareholder and executive director. We fully repaid the loan and released the securities thereunder in January 2020.

 

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In 2019, we also borrowed an interest-free credit loan with an aggregate principal amount of approximately US$3.13 million from several relatives of our controlling shareholder, Mr. Dong Hu, which was fully repaid in 2019.

 

In 2019 and up to the date of this prospectus, we obtained several loans from Hong Kong Dewang, a company controlled by a relative of Mr. Dong Hu, with an aggregate principal amount of approximately US$22.94 million at an interest rate of 4.7500% per annum. The maturity dates of these loans range from June 2022 to March 2023. As of the date of this prospectus, the aggregate outstanding amount due to Hong Kong Dewang is approximately US$22.94 million.

 

In 2019 and up to the date of this prospectus, we borrowed certain interest-free credit loans from Zhejiang Wansi Computer Manufacturing Company Limited, or Zhejiang Wansi, a company controlled by the spouse of Mr. Dong Hu, with an aggregate principal amount of approximately US$7.32 million and payable on demand, and certain interest-free credit loans from Mr. Dong Hu with an aggregate principal amount of approximately US$0.75 million and payable on demand. As of the date of this prospectus, the outstanding loans due to Zhejiang Wansi and Mr. Dong Hu are approximately US$7.10 million and US$0.75 million, respectively.

 

The weighted average interest rate for all of our borrowings was approximately 7.42% and 10.37% per annum in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

 

We believe that our existing cash and cash equivalents, anticipated cash raised from financings, and anticipated cash flow from operations, together with the net proceeds from this offering, will be sufficient to meet our anticipated cash needs for the next 12 months from the date of this prospectus. We intend to use portion of the net proceeds from this offering to fund our operations over the next 12 months. See “Use of Proceeds.” However, the exact amount of proceeds we use for our operations and expansion plans will depend on the amount of cash generated from our operations and any strategic decisions we may make that could alter our expansion plans and the amount of cash necessary to fund these plans. We may, however, decide to enhance our liquidity position or increase our cash reserve for future investments through additional capital and finance funding. We may need additional cash resources in the future if we experience changes in business conditions or other developments, or if we find and wish to pursue opportunities for investments, acquisitions, capital expenditures or similar actions. If we determine that our cash requirements exceed the amount of cash and cash equivalents we have on hand at the time, we may seek to issue equity or debt securities or obtain credit facilities. The issuance and sale of additional equity would result in further dilution to our shareholders. The incurrence of indebtedness would result in increased fixed obligations and could result in operating covenants that would restrict our operations. We cannot assure you that financing will be available in amounts or on terms acceptable to us, if at all.

 

Our ability to manage our working capital, including receivables and other assets and liabilities and accrued liabilities, may materially affect our financial condition and results of operations.

 

The following table sets forth our selected consolidated cash flow data for the periods indicated:

 

    Years Ended
December 31,
 
    2018     2019  
    US$     US$  
    (in thousands)  
Net cash used in operating activities     (108,232 )     (13,260 )
Net cash used in investing activities     (6,285 )     (5,809 )
Net cash provided by financing activities     13,960       8,548  
Net decrease in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash     (113,528 )     (13,703 )
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at the beginning of the year     133,009       19,481  
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at the end of the year     19,481       5,778  

 

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Operating Activities

 

Net cash used in operating activities for 2019 was US$13.3 million, which primarily reflected our net loss of US$41.1 million as mainly adjusted for (1) depreciation and amortization expenses of US$8.9 million, (2) write-down for the potentially obsolete, slow-moving inventories and lower of cost or market adjustment of US$6.3 million and (3) changes in working capital. Adjustment for changes in working capital primarily consisted of (i) a decrease of US$49.2 million in inventory due to the reduced amount of mining machine orders received and anticipated for our mining machines in response to significant drop in the Bitcoin price in 2018 and the first quarter of 2019 and (ii) a decrease of US$31.5 million in accounts payable.

 

Net cash used in operating activities for the 2018 was US$108.2 million, which primarily reflected our net loss of US$11.8 million as mainly adjusted for (1) depreciation and amortization expenses of US$4.8 million, (2) write-down for the potentially obsolete, slow-moving inventories and lower of cost or market adjustment of US$61.8 million and (3) changes in working capital. Adjustment for changes in working capital primarily consisted of (i) a decrease of US$181.8 million in advances from customers, (ii) a decrease of US$121.1 million in advances to suppliers and (iii) an increase of US$83.7 million in inventory.

 

Investing Activities

 

Net cash used in investing activities for 2019 was US$5.8 million, mainly attributable to purchase of property, plant and equipment of US$5.8 million.

 

Net cash used in investing activities for 2018 was US$6.3 million, mainly attributable to purchase of property, plant and equipment of US$5.9 million and purchase of intangible assets of US$0.4 million.

 

Financing Activities

 

Net cash provided by financing activities for 2019 was US$8.5 million, mainly attributable to proceeds from loans from related parties of US$23.9 million and proceeds from short-term loans of US$7.1 million, partially offset by repayment of short-term loans of US$14.1 million and repayment of long-term loans of US$8.3 million.

 

Net cash provided by financing activities for 2018 was US$14.0 million, mainly attributable to proceeds from long-term loans of US$13.2 million and proceeds from short-term loans of US$10.9 million, partially offset by capital distribution to owners of US$6.5 million and repayments of short-term loans of US$3.8 million.

 

Capital Expenditures

 

We made capital expenditures of US$6.3 million and US$5.8 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively. In these periods, our capital expenditures were mainly used for (1) procurement of equipment such as molds and machinery for the expansion of production capacity and upgrading of production facilities, (2) addition of intangible assets such as software and non-patent technology, and (3) expenditures for constructing our production facilities.

 

We plan to fund our future capital expenditures with our existing cash balance and proceeds from this offering. We will continue to make capital expenditures to meet the expected growth of our business, including for construction of production facilities and procurement of photomask, mold and various intellectual properties.

 

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Internal Control Over Financial Reporting

 

Prior to this offering, we have been a private company with limited accounting and financial reporting personnel and other resources to address our internal controls and procedures. In connection with the audit of our consolidated financial statements as of and for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2019, we and our independent registered public accounting firm identified two material weaknesses and certain significant deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting. As defined in the standards established by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board of the United States, a “material weakness” is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.

 

The material weaknesses identified are related to (1) lack of sufficient controls in place to manage main raw materials purchase which led to significant inventory write-down and (2) lack of well-established credit policy for customers in place which led to significant accounts receivable and revenue write-off.

 

We intend to undertake measures to improve our internal control over financial reporting to address the material weaknesses and significant deficiencies identified, including: (1) hiring more qualified resources including financial controller, equipped with relevant U.S. GAAP and SEC reporting experience and qualifications to strengthen the financial reporting function and to set up a financial and system control framework, (2) implementing regular and continuous U.S. GAAP accounting and financial reporting training programs for our accounting and financial reporting personnel, (3) establishing effective oversight and clarifying reporting policies and procedures for raw material purchase to reduce inventory write-down, (4) establishing effective credit policy for customers in place to reduce the amount of accounts receivable and revenue write-down, and (5) enhancing an internal audit function as well as engaging an external consulting firm to help us assess our compliance readiness under rule 13a-15 of the Exchange Act and improve overall internal control.

 

However, we cannot assure you that we will remediate our material weaknesses and other significant deficiencies in a timely manner. The process of designing and implementing an effective financial reporting system is a continuous effort that requires us to anticipate and react to changes in our business and the economic and regulatory environments and to expend significant resources to maintain a financial reporting system that is adequate to satisfy our reporting obligation. See “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry—If we fail to implement and maintain an effective system of internal controls, we may be unable to accurately or timely report our results of operations or prevent fraud, and investor confidence and the market price of the ADSs may be materially and adversely affected.”

 

As a company with less than US$1.07 billion in revenue for our last fiscal year, we qualify as an “emerging growth company” pursuant to the JOBS Act. An emerging growth company may take advantage of specified reduced reporting and other requirements that are otherwise applicable generally to public companies. These provisions include exemption from the auditor attestation requirement under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, in the assessment of the emerging growth company’s internal control over financial reporting.

 

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Contractual Obligations and Commitments

 

The following table sets forth our contractual obligations as of December 31, 2019:

 

    Payments due by period  
    Total     Less than one year     One to three years     Three to five years     More than five years  
    (US$ in thousands)  
Long-term debts from related party obligations     22,504            4,872       17,632            -            -  
Operating lease obligations     1,247       844       402       -       -  
Total     23,750       5,716       18,034       -       -  

 

Off Balance Sheet Commitments and Arrangements

 

We have not entered into any off-balance sheet financial guarantees or other off-balance sheet commitments to guarantee the payment obligations of any third parties. We have not entered into any derivative contracts that are indexed to our shares and classified as shareholder’s equity or that are not reflected in our consolidated financial statements. Furthermore, we do not have any retained or contingent interest in assets transferred to an unconsolidated entity that serves as credit, liquidity or market risk support to such entity. We do not have any variable interest in any unconsolidated entity that provides financing, liquidity, market risk or credit support to us or engages in leasing, hedging or product development services with us.

 

Holding Company Structure

 

Ebang International Holdings Inc. is a holding company with no material operations of its own. We conduct our operations primarily through our subsidiaries in the PRC and one subsidiary in Hong Kong. As a result, Ebang International Holdings Inc.’s ability to pay dividends depends upon dividends paid by our subsidiaries in the PRC and one subsidiary in Hong Kong. If our existing PRC and Hong Kong subsidiaries or any newly formed ones incur debt on their own behalf in the future, the instruments governing their debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends to us. In addition, our wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries in China are permitted to pay dividends to us only out of its retained earnings, if any, as determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. Under PRC law, each of our subsidiaries in China is required to set aside at least 10% of its after-tax profits each year, if any, to fund certain statutory reserve funds until such reserve funds reach 50% of their registered capital. In addition, our wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries in China may allocate a portion of their after-tax profits based on PRC accounting standards to enterprise expansion funds and staff bonus and welfare funds at their discretion, and our non-foreign-owned subsidiaries in China may allocate a portion of its after-tax profits based on PRC accounting standards to a surplus fund at their discretion. The statutory reserve funds and the discretionary funds are not distributable as cash dividends. Remittance of dividends by a wholly foreign-owned company out of China is subject to examination by the banks designated by SAFE. Our PRC subsidiaries have not paid dividends and will not be able to pay dividends until they generate accumulated profits and meet the requirements for statutory reserve funds.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risks

 

Concentration of Credit Risk

 

Financial instruments that potentially expose us to concentrations of credit risk consist primarily of cash and cash equivalents and accounts receivable. We place our cash and cash equivalents with financial institutions with high credit ratings and quality.

 

We conduct credit evaluations of customers, and generally do not require collateral or other security from our customers. We establish an allowance for doubtful accounts primarily based upon the age of the receivables and factors surrounding the credit risk of specific customers.

 

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Liquidity Risk

 

Our policy is to regularly monitor our liquidity requirements and our compliance with lending covenants, to ensure that we maintain sufficient reserves of cash and readily realizable marketable securities and adequate committed lines of funding from major financial institutions to meet its liquidity requirements in the short and longer term. See “—Liquidity and Capital Resources” for details.

 

Currency Risk

 

Our operations are primarily in China. Our reporting currency is denominated in U.S. dollars. We are exposed to currency risk primarily through sales and purchases which give rise to receivables, payables and cash balances that are denominated in a currency other than the functional currency of the operations to which the transactions relate. Thus, our revenues and results of operations may be impacted by exchange rate fluctuations between RMB, Hong Kong dollars, Euros and U.S. dollars. We incurred foreign currency translation losses of US$11.4 million and US$1.2 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively, as a result of changes in the exchange rate.

 

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Inflation

 

To date, inflation in China and Hong Kong has not materially affected our results of operations. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the year-over-year percent changes in the consumer price index for December 2018 and 2019 were increases of 1.9% and 4.5%, respectively, and according to the Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong, the year-over-year percent changes in the consumer price index for December 2018 and 2019 were increases of 2.5% and 2.9%, respectively. Although we have not been materially affected by inflation in the past, we may be affected if China or Hong Kong experiences higher rates of inflation in the future.

 

Recently Adopted or Issued Accounting Pronouncements

 

In May 2014, the Financial Accounting Standards Board, or FASB, issued ASU 2014-09, “Revenue from Contracts with Customers (ASC 606)” and issued subsequent amendments to the initial guidance or implementation guidance between August 2015 and November 2017 within ASU 2015-04, ASU 2016-08, ASU 2016-10, ASU 2016-12, ASU 2016-20, ASU 2017-13, and ASU 2017-14 (collectively, including ASU 2014-09, “ASC 606”). Under ASC 606, revenue is recognized when a customer obtains control of promised goods or services and is recognized in an amount that reflects the consideration which the entity expects to receive in exchange for those goods or services. In addition, the standard requires disclosure of the nature, amount, timing, and uncertainty of revenue and cash flows arising from contracts with customers. Effective January 1, 2018, we adopted the standard using the full retrospective method, which required us to adjust each prior reporting period presented. The adoption of ASC 606 did not have a material impact on our previously reported consolidated financial statements in any prior period nor did it result in a cumulative effect adjustment to retained earnings.

 

In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842) and issued subsequent amendments to the initial guidance or implementation guidance including ASU 2017-13, 2018-01, 2018-10, 2018-11, 2018-20 and 2019-01 (collectively, including ASU 2016-02, “ASC 842”), which supersedes the lease accounting requirements in ASC Topic 840, Leases. ASC 842 provides principles for the recognition, measurement, presentation and disclosure of leases for both lessees and lessors. The new standard requires lessees to apply a dual approach, classifying leases as either finance or operating leases based on the principle of whether or not the lease is effectively a financed purchase by the lessee. This classification will determine whether lease expense is recognized based on an effective interest method or on a straight-line basis over the term of the lease. A lessee is also required to record a right-of-use asset and a lease liability for all leases with a term of greater than twelve months regardless of classification. Leases with a term of twelve months or less will be accounted for similar to existing guidance for operating leases. On January 1, 2019, we adopted ASC 842, using the modified retrospective method. We elected the transition method which allows entities to initially apply the requirements by recognizing a cumulative-effect adjustment to the opening balance of retained earnings in the period of adoption. As a result of electing this transition method, previously reported financial information has not been restated to reflect the application of the new standard to the comparative periods presented. We elected the package of practical expedients permitted under the transition guidance within ASC 842, which among other things, allows us to carry forward certain historical conclusions reached under ASC Topic 840 regarding lease identification, classification, and the accounting treatment of initial direct costs. We elected not to record assets and liabilities on its consolidated balance sheet for new or existing lease arrangements with terms of 12 months or less. We recognized lease expenses for such leases on a straight-line basis over the lease term. In addition, we elected the land easement transition practical expedient and did not reassess whether an existing or expired land easement is a lease or contains a lease if it has not historically been accounted for as a lease. The primary impact of applying ASC 842 is the initial recognition of US$869,565 of lease liabilities and US$817,144 of right-of-use assets on our consolidated balance sheet as of January 1, 2019, for leases classified as operating leases under ASC 840, as well as enhanced disclosure of our leasing arrangements. We do not have finance lease arrangements as of December 31, 2019.

 

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In June 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-13, “Financial Instruments—Credit Losses”. The standard, including subsequently issued amendments (ASU 2018-19, ASU 2019-04, ASU 2019-05, ASU 2019-10 and ASU 2019-11), requires a financial asset measured at amortized cost basis, such as accounts receivable and certain other financial assets, to be presented at the net amount expected to be collected based on relevant information about past events, including historical experience, current conditions, and reasonable and supportable forecasts that affect the collectability of the reported amount. This ASU is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019, and interim periods within those fiscal years, and requires the modified retrospective approach. Early adoption is permitted. We are evaluating the impact of this guidance on our consolidated financial statements.

 

In November 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-18, Statement of Cash Flows (230): Restricted Cash. The amendments in this Update require that a statement of cash flows explain the change during the period in the total of cash, cash equivalents, and amounts generally described as restricted cash or restricted cash equivalents. For public business entities, the amendments in this update are effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2017, and interim periods within those annual periods. Earlier adoption is permitted. The amendments in this Update should be applied using a retrospective transition method to each period presented. On January 1, 2018, we adopted this guidance on a retrospective basis and has applied the changes to the consolidated statement of cash flows starting January 1, 2018.

 

In August 2018, the FASB, issued ASU No. 2018-13, Fair Value Measurement (Topic 820): Disclosure Framework—Changes to the Disclosure Requirements for Fair Value Measurement (“ASU 2018-13”). The update eliminates, modifies, and adds certain disclosure requirements for fair value measurements associated with the movement amongst or hierarchy associated with Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 fair value measurements. The amendments in this Update modify the disclosure requirements on fair value measurements based on the concepts in FASB Concepts Statement, Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting—Chapter 8: Notes to Financial Statements, including the consideration of costs and benefits. The amendments on changes in unrealized gains and losses, the range and weighted average of significant unobservable inputs used to develop Level 3 fair value measurements, and the narrative description of measurement uncertainty should be applied prospectively for only the most recent interim or annual period presented in the initial fiscal year of adoption. All other amendments should be applied retrospectively to all periods presented upon their effective date. The amendments are effective for all entities for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019, and interim periods within those fiscal years, with early adoption permitted. We are currently evaluating the potential impacts of ASU 2018-13 on our consolidated financial statements.

 

In December 2019, the FASB issued ASU 2019-12, “Income Taxes (Topic 740): Simplifying the Accounting for Income Taxes”. ASU 2019-12 simplifies the accounting for income taxes by removing exceptions within the general principles of Topic 740 regarding the calculation of deferred tax liabilities, the incremental approach for intraperiod tax allocation, and calculating income taxes in an interim period. In addition, the ASU adds clarifications to the accounting for franchise tax (or similar tax), which is partially based on income, evaluating tax basis of goodwill recognized from a business combination, and reflecting the effect of any enacted changes in tax laws or rates in the annual effective tax rate computation in the interim period that includes the enactment date. The ASU is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2020, and will be applied either retrospectively or prospectively based upon the applicable amendments. Early adoption is permitted. We are currently evaluating the potential impacts of ASU 2019-12 on our consolidated financial statements.

 

In February 2020, the FASB issued ASU 2020-02, “Financial Instruments – Credit Losses (Topic 326) and Leases (topic 842) Amendments to SEC Paragraphs Pursuant to SEC Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 119 and Update to SEC Section on Effective Date Related to Accounting Standards Update No. 2016-02, Leases (topic 842)”. This ASU provides guidance regarding methodologies, documentation, and internal controls related to expected credit losses. This ASU is effective for interim and annual periods beginning after December 15, 2019, and early adoption is permitted. We are evaluating the impact of this guidance on our consolidated financial statements.

 

Except as mentioned above, we do not believe other recently issued but not yet effective accounting standards, if currently adopted, would have a material effect on our financial statements.

 

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INDUSTRY OVERVIEW

 

The information presented in this section has been derived from an industry report commissioned by us and prepared by Frost & Sullivan, an independent research firm, regarding our industry and our market position. We refer to this report as the F&S report. We believe that the sources of such information are appropriate, and we have taken reasonable care in extracting and reproducing such information. We have no reason to believe that such information is false or misleading in any material respect or that any fact has been omitted that would render such information false or misleading in any material respect. However, neither we nor any other party involved in this offering has independently verified such information, and neither we nor any other party involved in this offering makes any representation as to the accuracy or completeness of such information. Therefore, investors are cautioned not to place any undue reliance on the information, including statistics and estimates, set forth in this section or similar information included elsewhere in this prospectus.

 

The Blockchain Industry

 

Blockchain Technology

 

Blockchain technology was first introduced in 2008. A blockchain is a shared digital ledger that records transactions in a peer-to-peer network. The entire ledger is distributed to all members in the network that validate the transactions based on algorithms built into that particular blockchain system. The network must reach a consensus regarding validating the requested transaction. Upon verification, the ledger permanently records transactions in a sequential chain of blocks which are linked by cryptography. The ledger can be maintained without any central authority. Because the entire blockchain is distributed and available to all computing hardware in the network, blockchain technology allows for transparent and unified transactions and can be applied to various industries and activities such as financial services, digital identity identification and authentication, property transactions, smart contracts, supply chain communication and others. The diagram below illustrates how new transactions are recorded in blockchain:

 

 

 

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The transaction request (Step 1) and verification of the request (Steps 2 and 3) are secured by cryptography, a method for storing and transmitting data under encryption, which allows the network to verify the identity of the person requesting the transaction. Adding a new block (Steps 4 and 5) requires solving a complicated math puzzle created by a cryptographic algorithm. Because of the complexity of the puzzle, answers are found by computing trial-and-error guesses, or hashes. The first participant to answer the puzzle is able to add a block to the chain. The answer is included in the block’s information, which then forms part of the math puzzle for the next block, thus creating a “chain.”

 

The market interest in developing blockchain technology has been growing in recent years. Top global financial institutions and funds have been investing in or working with blockchain start-up companies or testing blockchain projects for their own use. In 2013, there were 90 known deals involving blockchain and US$98 million in disclosed funding for blockchain investments. This increased considerably to 380 known deals and US$3.9 billion in disclosed funding in 2018.

 

Key Drivers for the Blockchain Market

 

There has been increasing adoption of blockchain technology in various applications, such as cryptocurrency and AI. The key drivers for the continuing development of the blockchain market include:

 

Advantages and wide application of blockchain. Blockchain technology offers a novel method of recording transactions and information with certain advantages such as better transparency, data security and lower costs. The technology can be applied in various areas including digital identification, transactions authentication, financial settlement and digital currencies. The advantages, wide application and potential of the technology have been driving more awareness, research efforts and investment into the technology and has been, and is expected to continue to be, a main driver of growth in the industry.

 

Demand for blockchain-related hardware infrastructure. The wide application and development of blockchain technology drives the demand of blockchain-related hardware infrastructure, including mining machines. The industry has seen rapid technological advancement in the development of cutting-edge ASIC chips with smaller transistors, leading to substantial increases in computing power and energy efficiency. The continuous development and adoption of the blockchain technology will require the support of matching hardware infrastructure and are expected to continue to drive the development and demand for blockchain-related hardware.

 

Economic return on cryptocurrency mining activities. The development of blockchain technology has resulted in more awareness in the technology and cryptocurrencies. The rise of the price of Bitcoin in 2016 and 2017 resulted in a substantial increase in cryptocurrency mining activities during the same period. Despite recent market fluctuations of major cryptocurrencies in 2018, cryptocurrency mining remains profitable for many miners. Cryptocurrency mining activities will continue to be a driver for the demand for Bitcoin mining machines.

 

The Cryptocurrency Industry

 

Cryptocurrencies

 

Blockchain technology was first utilized for Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that is created and managed through advanced encryption techniques. Cryptocurrency using blockchain has a number of special properties that differentiate it from traditional fiat currencies: (1) irreversible, as verified transactions once added to the blockchain become very difficult to undo, (2) pseudonymous, as transactions and accounts are not linked to real-world identities, (3) secure, as users access their accounts and transactions through private cryptographic keys which cannot be deciphered from public information and (4) global, as transactions are not limited by physical location. These are some of the reasons why cryptocurrencies have been increasingly adopted by users globally.

 

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Different cryptocurrencies utilize different algorithms and cryptographies to optimize for certain traits such as faster processing times or greater accessibility. Some are aimed at solely functioning as a currency to purchase goods and services, while others are geared towards supporting a specific blockchain platform, such as smart contracts. Aside from its intended uses, some cryptocurrencies may be held as an asset to be traded based on its valuation.

 

As of December 31, 2019, there were 5,035 cryptocurrencies in circulation with a total aggregate market capitalization of approximately US$193.4 billion, which represented a 48.5% increase from approximately US$130.2 billion as of December 31, 2018. The largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, accounted for approximately 68.2% of the market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies, or approximately US$131.9 billion. The graph below shows the total aggregate market capitalization for all cryptocurrencies from the beginning of 2014 through December 2019:

 

Total Market Capitalization of Total Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin, 2014-2019

 

  

 

Note: The figures represent the market capitalization by December 31 of each year.

Source: F&S report

 

The table below shows the market capitalization and price information of selected major cryptocurrencies as of December 31, 2019:

 

Type of Cryptocurrency  Market
Capitalization
   Price   Highest
Price in
Prior Year
   Lowest
Price in
Prior Year
   % Change
over
December 
2019
 
   US$   US$   US$   US$     
   (in billions)                 
Bitcoin (BTC)   131.9    7,193.6    13,796.5    3,391.0    (5.0)%
Ethereum (ETH)   14.1    129.6    361.4    102.9    (15.0)%
Litecoin (LTC)   2.6    41.3    146.4    30.1    (12.9)%
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)   3.7    204.6    522.1    108.1    (7)%
Dash (DASH)   0.4    41.2    187.5    39.0    (25.4)%

 

 

Source: F&S report

 

 

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Set out below are the historical price and trading volume charts of Bitcoin for the periods indicated:

 

Average Price and Trading Volume of Bitcoin, January 2015-December 2019

 

 

 

Cryptocurrency Industry Value Chain

 

The cryptocurrency industry consists of five major elements, including hardware supply, operation of mining farm, operation of mining farms, trading and payment. Hardware suppliers mainly focus on mining IC design and mining machine manufacture as well as sales of mining machines. Mining farms usually refer to physical mining sites where operators offer customers custodian services for their mining hardware or provide computing power rental services. Operation of mining pools refers to services that enable miners to contribute their computing power and split mining rewards. Trading refers to services provided by cryptocurrency exchanges for consumers to buy and sell cryptocurrency. Payment refers to services provided by Bitcoin payment processors, which enables merchants and businesses to receive payments in Bitcoins from individuals for goods sold and services rendered.

 

The graph below illustrates the cryptocurrency industry value chain and key players:

 

 

 

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The Cryptocurrency Mining Market

 

Cryptocurrency Mining

 

Blockchains rely on the computing hardware participating across the network to verify transactions and add to the blockchain. For cryptocurrency blockchains, network members which participate in the verification process may be rewarded with a certain amount of the cryptocurrency, which is commonly referred to as “mining.”

 

Mining serves both to add transactions to the blockchain and to release new cryptocurrency in circulation. The mining process involves compiling recent transactions into blocks and attempting to solve a computationally difficult puzzle. The first participant who solves the puzzle gets to place the next block on the blockchain and claim the rewards. The rewards incentivize mining and include both the transaction fees (paid to the miner in the form of cryptocurrency) as well as the newly released cryptocurrency.

 

The supply of a cryptocurrency may be capped or limited. For example, the total supply of Bitcoins is fixed at 21 million, and 18.1 million Bitcoins, or more than 86.2% of the total supply, had been awarded as of December 31, 2019. The number of Bitcoins awarded for solving a block in the verification process halves approximately every four years, and the next Bitcoin halving is expected to happen at the end of May 2020. While Bitcoin miners currently rely on newly released Bitcoins for reward, most of the revenue will be generated from Bitcoin transaction fees in the long run due to the reduction in Bitcoin supply. The table below shows certain information relating to Bitcoin mining activities for the years indicated:

 

 

Year

  Bitcoins Awarded During the Year   Bitcoins Released at Year End   Average Bitcoins per Block   Total Mining Revenue 
               (US$ million) 
2013   1,585,175    12,195,400    25.0    307.0 
2014   1,472,425    13,667,825    25.0    789.8 
2015   1,358,275    15,026,100    25.0    375.0 
2016   1,047,513    16,073,613    19.1(1)   571.0 
2017   698,912    16,772,525    12.5    3,332.6 
2018   681,325    17,453,850    12.5    5,508.6 
2019   678,025    18,131,875    12.5    5,172.9 

 

 

(1)The Bitcoin reward halved in July 2016.

 

Source: F&S report

 

Aside from mining rewards, transaction fees are a major form of incentive for participation in Bitcoin verification processes. Bitcoin users may offer to pay a discretionary Bitcoin-denominated transaction fee to the network member who solves the block and adds that user’s transaction to the blockchain to incentivize prioritizing that user’s transaction. The amount of transaction fee has historically been lower than the value of the mining reward. As the number of Bitcoins awarded for solving a block decreases over time, it is expected that the economic incentives for network members to continue to contribute computing power for the Bitcoin blockchain may shift over time from the award of newly released Bitcoins to Bitcoin-denominated transaction fees.

 

The cryptocurrency mining market is sensitive to changes in regulatory regimes. Regulators around the globe have taken different approaches toward the cryptocurrency industry in general. Countries such as China, the United States and Canada have shown cautionary encouragement toward the cryptocurrency industry, while countries such as Sweden and Iceland are on the more positive end. Currently, countries with the most active cryptocurrency mining and trading activities have not ruled cryptocurrency mining illegal.

 

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As cryptocurrency gains popularity, an increasing number of people have joined the mining activities, causing the competition to intensify and the mining cost to increase, which in turn gives advantages to large mining farms that can lower the marginal cost with the benefit of economies of scale. An increasing number of miners choose to purchase computing power from mining farms, which are able to free them from physically operating their mining machines and lower their operating costs. Intensified mining competition of Bitcoin also causes the mining activities of other alternative cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin and Monero to increase, representing a new growth opportunity for the cryptocurrency mining industry.

 

Bitcoin Mining Machines

 

Bitcoin mining can be done by the average computer but, over time, specialized Bitcoin mining machines have been developed to more efficiently conduct these transactions. Network members are therefore incentivized to optimize their participation and may purchase Bitcoin mining machines rather than just using existing computers. Many network members operate large pools of Bitcoin mining machines for the purpose of increasing their computing power and sharing Bitcoin mining rewards.

 

Market demand for Bitcoin mining machines is primarily driven by the expected economic return on Bitcoin mining, which is generally affected by various factors, including the following:

 

Bitcoin Price. Increased Bitcoin price drives up the demand for Bitcoin mining machines, and vice versa. The price of Bitcoin has experienced significant fluctuation and may continue to fluctuate in the future. Any future fluctuation of the price of Bitcoin will add uncertainty to the economic return on Bitcoin mining.

 

Bitcoin mining rewards and network transaction fees. Bitcoin miners receive Bitcoins as a reward upon solving a block in the blockchain, and such reward is expected to halve approximately every four years. Bitcoin miners may also receive network transactions fees as a form of incentive for participation in the Bitcoin verification process. Future decreases in such rewards would negatively affect the economic return of Bitcoin mining.

 

Bitcoin mining machine performance. Performance of a Bitcoin mining machine is determined by its computing efficiency. Technological advancement such as development of ASIC chips with smaller transistors (from 28 nm to 7 nm) will lead to an increase in computing power and lower the energy consumption per TH, thus resulting in enhanced performance of a Bitcoin mining machine and higher economic return on Bitcoin mining. In general, the ASIC chips with smaller transistors are more advantageous in computing efficiency compared to ASIC chips with larger transistors.

 

Mining difficulty. The Bitcoin blockchain adjusts its mining difficulty based on the overall computing power of the Bitcoin network. Increased mining difficulty requires Bitcoin miners to upgrade their mining equipment to get ahead of other miners, and thus creates demand for better Bitcoin mining machines. However, if mining becomes so difficult that profiting is infeasible, Bitcoin miners may shut down their mining machines and give up on mining.

 

Electricity cost. Electricity cost is the major operating cost for Bitcoin mining. If the electricity price rises to a level so that the return from Bitcoin mining cannot justify the cost, the market interest in Bitcoin mining will decrease.

 

Regulations. Cryptocurrency industry has caught the attention of regulators in many countries. If the regulation on Bitcoin mining or the cryptocurrency industry in general tightens up, the market interest in Bitcoin and Bitcoin mining may decline.

 

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In recent years, sales of Bitcoin mining machines have increased as a result of the increasing adoption of blockchain technology and interest in cryptocurrencies, particularly when cryptocurrency prices increased. Sales of Bitcoin computing hardware, the majority of which comprise sales of Bitcoin mining machines, have surged at a CAGR of 61.3% from approximately US$0.2 billion in 2015 to approximately US$1.4 billion in 2019 and are expected to further increase at a CAGR of 24.8% to approximately US$4.3 billion in 2024.

 

The graph below shows the growth of sales of Bitcoin mining machines globally for the periods indicated:

 

 

 

 

Source: F&S report

 

The prices of Bitcoin mining machines fluctuate as they are closely correlated with the price of Bitcoin. which is a key factor influencing the economic returns on mining activities. The graph below shows the correlation between the average selling price of mining hardware and the price of Bitcoin mining machines for the periods indicated:

 

Correlation between the average selling price of mining machines and the price of Bitcoin

 

 

 

 

Note: The chart above is limited to mainstream mining machines which refer to Bitcoin mining machines sold by major mining machine manufacturers.

Source: F&S report

 

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During the period from 2012 to 2019, the hash rate of the Bitcoin network continuously increased in general, despite some small fluctuations. In September 2013, the hash rate of the Bitcoin network surpassed 1PH/s for the first time. At the beginning of 2016, it has already increased above 1EH/s, which was mainly driven by the significant increase of Bitcoin mining hardware and the investment enthusiasm of Bitcoin. As of the end of June 2018, the hash rate of Bitcoin network has reached approximately 40EH/s. In 2019, the Bitcoin hash rate experienced a general increase and exceeded its previous peak in July. The graph below shows the hash rate of Bitcoin mining machines for the periods indicated:

 

Correlation between Bitcoin price and Bitcoin hash rate, January 2012-December 2019

 

 

 

 

Source: F&S report

 

Key performance metrics of Bitcoin mining machines typically include the following:

 

Computing power. Computing power determines how quickly a Bitcoin mining machine can process a transaction, and is also known as the “hash rate” or “hash power.” It is evaluated both at the maximum level of computing power and its ability to maintain that level of power. Users may form mining pools with multiple Bitcoin mining machines to increase their collective hash power.

 

Efficiency. Another key property of Bitcoin mining machines is efficiency, which refers to the amount of power used in relation to the computing power. An efficient Bitcoin mining machine needs to have computing power that is sufficient to generate rewards greater than the cost of the power consumed.

 

Heat reduction. Because Bitcoin mining machines use a great deal of power, heat reduction is a concern since users may need to expend extra energy costs to keep the Bitcoin mining machines cool enough to avoid overheating.

 

Others. Other factors that users may consider include the size and weight of the Bitcoin mining machine, its noise level and whether it is complicated to assemble.

 

Competitive Landscape of the Bitcoin Mining Machine Market

 

The global Bitcoin mining machine market is dominated by four major Bitcoin mining machine producers, which are all China-based companies together accounting for 96.4% of the total sales revenue and 94.9% of the total computing power sold globally in the first half of 2019. Ebang was one of these Bitcoin mining machine producers, according to the F&S report.

 

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The Integrated Circuit Industry

 

Integrated Circuits, or ICs are small wafers, usually made of silicon, which hold transistors, resistors and capacitors to perform calculations and store data. ICs form an essential component of virtually all electronic devices, enabling fundamental advances in computing, communication, transportation and countless other applications. According to the F&S report, the global sales revenue of the IC industry increased from US$277.3 billion in 2014 to US$401.6 billion in 2018, representing a CAGR of 12.4%, and the overall sales revenue of the IC industry in China increase from US$45.6 billion in 2014 to US$98.7 billion in 2018, representing a CAGR of 21.3%, and is expected to reach US$193.8 billion by 2023 at a CAGR of 14.4%.

 

Although many companies, known as integrated device manufacturers, both design and manufacture ICs, a lot of companies avoid the huge capital expenditure to build, and expensive cost to maintain, IC production facilities by going fabless, i.e., focusing exclusively on IC design. The global market size of fabless IC design industry measured by sales revenue has grown from US$84.2 billion in 2015 to US$103.3 billion in 2019, representing a CAGR of 5.2%, and is expected to reach US$129.4 billion in 2023 at a CAGR of 4.6%, caused by the emergence of cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain. The table below shows the total global market size of fabless IC design industry measured by sales revenue for the periods indicated:

 

 

 

ASIC Chips

 

Specialized IC chips are known as ASIC chips. An ASIC chip are generally customized to process a particular application but has little flexibility for general use, which are increasingly employed in blockchain and many other cutting-edge technologies. Its estimated growth from 2018 to 2023 is expected to be at a CAGR of 15.8%, higher than other types of ICs.

 

ASIC chips offer stronger computing power and are more energy-efficient than chips for general use in running particular applications they are customized for. Therefore, ASIC chips are widely used in cryptocurrency mining, and ASIC chip designers are major participants in the Bitcoin mining machine industry.

 

Several entry barriers exist for ASIC chip designers, including design expertise, long development time and high fixed cost. With respect to expertise, ASIC chips are narrowly targeted and have little flexibility and so ASIC chip designers need to have precise and in-depth understanding of the applications being designed. Additionally, ASIC chip designers need to have expertise across a range of domains include programming, integrated circuit production and semiconductor technology in order to understand how to efficiently design an ASIC chip to be integrated into a Bitcoin mining machine. Because of this complexity, designing ASIC chips also requires an enormous input of time to experiment with the specifications and physical design. The typical design cycle takes 12 to 24 months. This also means that ASIC chip design has a high fixed cost in order to experiment for this length of time. Moreover, ASIC chip designers need to be precise in their estimates of market demand so that they do not overspend on the development.

 

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BUSINESS

 

Mission

 

Our mission is to become a globally prominent blockchain company driven by technological innovation.

 

Overview

 

We are a leading ASIC chip design company and a leading manufacturer of high performance Bitcoin mining machines, according to the F&S report. We have strong ASIC chip design capability underpinned by nearly a decade of industry experience and expertise in the telecommunications business. We are one of the few fabless IC design companies with the advanced technology to independently design ASIC chips, established access to third-party wafer foundry capacity and a proven in-house capability to produce blockchain and telecommunications products, according to the F&S report. We have dedicated our technology and efforts to ASIC applications for Bitcoin mining machines and were a leading Bitcoin mining machine producer in the global market in terms of computing power sold in 2019, according to the F&S report.

 

We are a pioneer in researching and developing ASIC chip technology used in blockchain applications in China. We are also one of the earliest contract manufacturers of Bitcoin mining machines in China to own self-developed proprietary ASIC chips, according to the F&S report. Our Ebit E10 model, launched in December 2017, was the first commercially available mining machine to use 10 nm ASIC chips among ma