Chinese TikTok competitor Kuaishou Technology is preparing to file for an initial public offering on the Hong Kong stock exchange within the next two weeks, according to people familiar with its plans.
The Tencent-backed short video-sharing app is targeting a Hong Kong listing early next year. However, the company, which was valued at over US$30 billion in its last round of funding, has not yet decided on the size of its IPO, according to the people.
Local media has reported that Kuaishou has hired Morgan Stanley, China Renaissance and Bank of America as bankers for the deal. The banks were not immediately available for comment.
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Founded in 2011, Beijing-based Kuaishou was initially launched as a tool for creating animated GIFs. Its founders restructured the business in 2013 into a short-form video social platform, which targeted users in lower-tier cities.
Daily live-streaming users on Kuaishou surged to 170 million during the first half of this year, from 100 million at the end of 2019. The increase was boosted by a rise in e-commerce activity and the vast number of original content published by its army of young creators.
“We see a high conversion rate of Kuaishou users who turn to live-streaming e-commerce on our platform,” said Yu Shuang, vice-president of e-commerce business at Kuaishou, in an email interview by the Post in July.
Apart from Tencent, which led a US$350 million funding round in the company in March 2017, Kuaishou has also attracted funding from other investors that include Baidu, Sequoia Capital and Morningside Venture Capital.
Kuaishou’s plan for a Hong Kong IPO has come amid increasing threats from Washington to decouple the world’s two biggest economies, and threats from the Trump administration to delist Chinese companies from US markets. Bankers and analysts have said this has led some Chinese companies to think longer and harder about choosing the US as their listing venue.
The souring of US-China relations has also prompted 10 US-listed Chinese tech companies to seek a secondary listing in Hong Kong so far this year. Mega IPOs by JD.com and NetEase have bolstered the total funds raised by these firms to US$15.4 billion combined, data from Refinitiv shows.
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