State-run China Tower filed an application for an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong, seeking a valuation of up to $40 billion, Reuters reported.

While sources told the news agency the move could raise as much as $10 billion for the company, this was not confirmed by China Tower, which is also yet to set a date for the IPO.

China Tower was formed to reduce redundant construction of telecoms infrastructure, with China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom transferring their tower assets worth an estimated $36 billion to the company in 2015.

Its filing revealed it operated 1.9 million tower sites and had 2.7 million tenants at the end of 2017. Its revenue during the year rose nearly 23 per cent to CNY68.7 billion yuan ($10.8 billion), while profit rose to CNY1.9 billion. The company is thought to be the world’s largest owner of telecom tower infrastructure.

The IPO is being led by China International Capital Corporation and Goldman Sachs and was expected to launch early this year, but was delayed due to issues in getting approvals from state regulators as well the three operators, all of whom own a stake of around 28 per cent to 38 per cent.

It is now expected to happen in the back-half of the year.

In February, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom renegotiated the terms of their tower rental agreements with China Tower to bring down their leasing costs, which have been rising sharply.

News of the floatation comes not long after Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi filed for an IPO which could also raise as much as $10 billion.