Tencent-Backed Kuaishou Eyes $5 Billion Hong Kong IPO

September 18, 2020 0:01 am

Beijing (PingWest)—Kuaishou, a video-sharing app backed by Tencent, is considering a Hong Kong initial public offering, which could raise as much as $5 billion.

The company has hired Bank of America, China Renaissance and Morgan Stanley to work on the IPO and is looking to file for the float as soon as the end of October.

As the discussion is still in its early stages, details of the offering including scale and timetable may be changed.

Kuaishou is the biggest Chinese rival to Douyin, ByteDance’s domestic version of the short-video sharing app TikTok. The two short video platforms have similar functions, but Kuaidou is more popular in lower-tier cities and rural communities in China, while Douyin is sought after by residents in higher-tier cities.

Outside of mainland China, Kuaishou is also actively expanding through its sub-brands, including Zynn and Kwai, to seize TikTok's overseas market share, especially due to ongoing tensions between China and the US, TikTok has become a target of Washington concern over data security.

In July, the company hired Tony Qiu, a former executive of Didi Chuxing, to oversee its global expansion.

Data from researcher CBNData showed that monthly active users on Kuaishou have reached 430 million as of June, while Douyin's monthly active users exceeded 500 million.

Kuaishou's revenue mainly comes from taking a cut out of the tips users give to their favorite live-streaming performers. But it’s also increasingly expanding into advertising and e-commerce. 

The company has reached an agreement with China’s second-largest online retailer to sell products through an in-app store, and said it has amassed more than 100 million daily active buyers.

Founded in 2009, Kuaishou has raised $3 billion late last year in a pre-IPO funding round led by main backer Tencent. 

Kuaishou’s IPO could help maintain Hong Kong’s position as a global capital market center. Refinitiv's data presents that from January to August, nearly $20.3 billion worth of IPOs and secondary listings were conducted in Hong Kong.

ByteDance is also reportedly considering listing its domestic business in Hong Kong or Shanghai.