TikTok's Chinese sister eyes Hong Kong listing

Business | Reuters and Avery Chen 27 Oct 2020

TikTok-owner ByteDance is in discussions to list its Chinese short video app Douyin in Hong Kong, according to sources.

The Chinese tech giant has discussed internally about the potential scenario and its representatives have met several investment banks in recent weeks to talk about such a possibility for Douyin, they said, adding that the talks are very preliminary.

ByteDance has hired Goldman Sachs and other investment banks to arrange the potential initial public offering, mainland media 36Kr reported yesterday.

TikTok is not available in China and Douyin is TikTok's Chinese counterpart.

Reuters reported in July that ByteDance studied the possibility to list its China business, including Douyin, in Hong Kong or Shanghai, against a backdrop of rising Sino-US tensions over its hit non-China video app TikTok. A standalone listing could value the China business at more than US$100 billion (HK$780 billion) in Hong Kong or on Shanghai's Nasdaq-style Star Market.

ByteDance said it is considering spinning off part of its business, but the plan has not yet been confirmed.

ByteDance has been under pressure in the United States to sell the popular app's US arm. The White House contends that TikTok poses national security concerns as personal data collected on 100 million Americans who use the app could be obtained by China's government.

US District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington issued a preliminary injunction on September 27 that barred the US Commerce Department from ordering app stores to remove the short video-sharing app for download by new users.

Douyin, where users watch and upload short videos, is hugely popular in China with 600 million daily active users.

Kuaishou, Douyin's biggest rival in mainland China, is reportedly seeking a Hong Kong IPO that could raise up to US$5 billion.

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