UPDATE 2-Chinese auto sensor maker Hesai to raise up to $171 mln in U.S. IPO

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By Scott Murdoch and Harish Sridharan

SYDNEY, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Chinese sensor maker Hesai Group is aiming to raise up to $171 million in a U.S initial public offering (IPO), the first major deal by a Chinese company since the country's borders re-opened early last month, according to its regulatory filings.

Shanghai-based Hesai, which produces laser-based components essential for autonomous driving systems known as lidar sensors, will offer up to 9 million American depositary shares (ADS) at between $17 and $19 apiece.

While Chinese online education firm QuantaSing Group raised $40.6 million in a U.S. IPO on Jan. 25, the Hesai deal is the largest fund-raising by a Chinese firm in New York in at least a year.

It is also one of only a few major U.S. listings by Chinese firms since Beijing tightened its grip on overseas share sales in July 2021.

Chinese companies raised nearly $230 million in U.S. listings in 2022, according to Refinitiv data, representing a massive drop from $12.85 billion a year earlier.

After the U.S. accounting watchdog said in mid-December that it had full access to inspect and investigate firms in China for the first time ever, the prospect of Chinese companies in the United States being delisted over accounting issues has been reduced.

Companies and advisors, though, are still waiting for China's Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) to publish its final rules that will govern Chinese companies listing offshore.

Dealmakers are hopeful Chinese companies will start to raise capital again in the United States with the delisting threat lessened and the country's borders open.

To date, Hesai has raised over $500 million, according to the company's website. Its investors include Xiaomi Corp , Meituan, Bosch and Baidu Inc.

Chinese carmaker Geely Automobile Holdings' electric car brand, Zeekr, confidentially filed for a U.S. initial public offering in December. (Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Sydney and Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Kenneth Maxwell)