(Corrects company response in para 10)
By Kane Wu, Julie Zhu and Scott Murdoch
HONG KONG, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Chinese car maintenanceservice start-up Tuhu is considering a U.S. initial publicoffering this year, after raising up to $400 million from afunding round earlier this month, people with direct knowledgeof the matter told Reuters.
Investment banks have been pitching to the company in recentweeks for the potential IPO, said five people. The company willlikely opt for a U.S. stock listing as there is more liquidityand more comparable companies trading on U.S. exchanges, saidthree of the people.
Two separate sources, however, cautioned the company, whichprovides services via its website, mobile app, call centre andthird-party platforms, has not yet made a final decision on theIPO plan.
The plan, if finalised, will add to a growing list ofChinese companies, mainly from the technology sector, launchingIPOs in the United States in the past year lured by highervaluations and strong liquidity in the world's largest economy.
Thirty Chinese companies listed in the United States in 2020in deals worth $11.7 billion, a six-year high, according toRefinitiv data.
There have been $2.3 billion worth of listings so far in2021.
Founded 10 years ago in Shanghai, Tuhu provides car repairand maintenance services via an online-to-offline businessmodel. Its app links customers with over 2,400 car repaircentres and 13,000 partner centres in 405 cities in China,according to Tuhu's website.
Tuhu raised $300 million to $400 million from its latestfundraising at a valuation of $3.8 billion, which was led byexisting investors Tencent Holdings and SequoiaCapital China, said two of the people.
All the sources declined to be named as the information isconfidential.
A Tuhu spokesman said the company's fundraising is stillongoing and that there is still uncertainty around the plans. Headded that the company has ample capital and has no clearlisting plans. Tencent and Sequoia declined to comment.
Tuhu raised $450 million in a funding round in 2018, whichwas led by Tencent, Carlyle Group and Sequoia, accordingto a company statement at the time. It also counts Goldman Sachsand Baidu Inc as early investors.
Private equity firm FountainVest Partners is among investorsin the latest fundraising, said one of the people. The firmdeclined to comment.(Reporting by Kane Wu, Julie Zhu and Scott Murdoch; Editing bySusan Fenton)