The company which made an escalator that broke and killed a woman in a tragic accident requested to go public on the Shanghai Stock Exchange earlier this year, according to regulator the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).

The Shenlong Elevator Co., Ltd aims to raise RMB600 million in its Initial Public Offering (IPO), according to a prospectus report on CSRC’s website which refers to the company both as Shenlong and Seloon. The company, based in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, was founded in 1992.

It’s not yet clear whether Shenlong’s IPO will go ahead. On July 4, the CSRC ordered the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets to suspend new IPOs until further notice following steep falls in shares across both markets.

china escalator horror
Shenlong Elevator Co., Ltd’s website.

The company came into public spotlight after a 31-year-old mother was crushed by one of its escalators in a shopping mall in Jingzhou, Hubei on July 26. The mother managed to push her son out of danger before she got sucked into the machine and killed.

Initial investigations showed the accident was caused by a metal panel connecting the escalator and the concrete floor which had become loose, the local government said in a press conference on Monday. According to an investigation by state broadcaster CCTV, maintenance workers had checked the escalator and forgotten to put the panel back in place properly.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Shenlong’s executives apologised to Xiang’s family. The company’s general manager Yuan Qiang, secretary of the board of directors Xue Wei and chief engineering officer Zhang Jianzhong bowed in front of the media and expressed their “profound condolences and deep regrets towards the victim and her family.” The executives said they will cooperate with authorities in their investigation into the accident.

escalator horror

Several mainland media outlets reported elevators and escalators made by the company were involved in multiple accidents in the past few years. In 2011, a four-year-old boy was killed after he got stuck in an escalator made by Shenlong in Liuyang, Hunan. In the same year, a Shenlong escalator went up and down in both directions in Qingdao, Shandong, startling two passengers. In 2012, a Shenlong elevator was in a freefall in a residential building in Yinchuan, Ningxia. No one was injured since the elevator got stuck after falling three storeys.

China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine ordered its provincial and municipal bureaus to conduct thorough checks of all escalators in the country following Sunday’s accident. Authorities in Hubei has asked all Shenlong escalators in the province to be shut down pending safety inspections.

The company’s website said its escalators and elevators are in use across the nation as well as in Bulgaria, Columbia, Mexico, Thailand, Jordan, Russia, Paraguay and Malaysia.

A spokesperson from Hong Kong’s Electrical and Mechanical Services Department confirmed to HKFP that Shenlong escalators are not used in Hong Kong.

Shenlong’s prospectus report was dated on June 1. According to the National Business Daily and People’s Daily, the IPO application was greenlighted by the CSRC earlier this month.

Calls to Shenlong’s headquarters in Suzhou went unanswered on Wednesday. A person who answered the phone at Everbright Securities Company, which underwrites Shenlong’s IPO, said she could not confirm whether the IPO has been approved yet.

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.