By Julie Zhu and Kane Wu
HONG KONG (Reuters) – Chinese online short video start-up Kuaishou aims to raise up to $5 billion in a Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) as early as January, people with direct knowledge of the matter said, gearing up for the city’s latest multibillion-dollar tech float.
The nine-year-old company, backed by social media and gaming leader Tencent Holdings Ltd, is targeting a valuation of over $50 billion, the people told Reuters, requesting anonymity due to confidentiality constraints.
Kuaishou operates its eponymous app in China and overseas equivalents Kwai and Zynn. Its plans come as rival ByteDance – operator of Douyin at home and TikTok abroad – has become a target of U.S. government concern over data security.
Kuaishou 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, the people said.
Bank of America and China Renaissance declined to comment. The company and Morgan Stanley did not respond to requests for comment.
The Kuaishou app had 430 million monthly active users as of June, versus over 500 million for Douyin, according to researcher CBNData.
Kuaishou’s IPO would be a boost to Hong Kong’s status as a global capital markets centre. Nearly $20.3 billion worth of IPOs and secondary listings were conducted in Hong Kong over January-August, Refinitiv data showed, even as the city struggled with the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus outbreak and anti-government protests.
Ant Group plans to raise as much as $30 billion in a dual listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai in October, in what could be the world’s largest IPO.
ByteDance is also considering listing its domestic business in Hong Kong or Shanghai, Reuters reported in July before the United States moved to bar U.S. firms from dealing with it.
Kuaishou raised $3 billion late last year in a pre-IPO funding round led by main backer Tencent. That round valued the company at close to $30 billion, said two of the people.
(Reporting by Julie Zhu and Kane Wu in Hong Kong; Additional reporting by Yingzhi Yang in Beijing; Editing by Christopher Cushing)