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Kuaishou’s karaoke store in Guangzhou where customers can either sing on a public stage or entertain themselves in a soundproof cubicle equipped with a screen, microphones and earphones. Photo: Handout

Kuaishou files for Hong Kong IPO as world’s second-biggest short video app joins march of Chinese tech companies to raise funds

  • Kuaishou Technology, the second-largest short video platform in the world, filed for IPO in Hong Kong
  • The IPO came as Chinese companies are seeking elsewhere to list amid the increased tensions between the world’s two largest economies

Kuaishou Technology, the world’s second-largest video sharing platform and a competitor to TikTok, has applied to raise funds via an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong, continuing the march by Chinese companies to tap capital in the financial hub.

The Beijing-based company, which reported 302 million average daily active users in the first six months, said it plans to use the capital it raises to enhance its ecosystem and strengthen research and development and technology, according to a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange (HKEX), without disclosing how much money it plans to raise.

The company’s monthly active users topped 776 million, hosting around 1 billion live streaming sessions on its application, Kuaishou said, with a total of 1.63 trillion likes, shares and comments for short videos and live streaming on the platform. A listing could arrive early next year, the South China Morning Post reported earlier.

Valued at more than US$30 billion in its most recent funding, Kuaishou chose to list in Hong Kong as the United States government increased its censorship of Chinese firms and especially technology giants. The Trump administration has threatened to shut down the business of Kuaishou’s bigger rival TikTok in the US, forcing the Chinese company to sell its US assets to an American company.

The short video-sharing platform Kuaishou during the 2020 China Digital Entertainment Expo & Conference (ChinaJoy) at Shanghai New International Expo Center on July 30, 2020 in Shanghai. Photo: VCG/VCG via Getty Images
Separately, TikTok’s parent ByteDance is in talks to raise capital in a private-equity funding round, Bloomberg reported.

China’s video sharing segment has received a boost from the coronavirus pandemic, as homebound people during quarantines and national lockdowns look to them for entertainment and social interaction. The already robust growth of e-commerce also further ballooned since the pandemic, popularising the practice of selling goods via live streaming in the world’s second-largest economy.

Kuaishou, backed by China’s dominant mobile games publisher and social network operator Tencent Holding, said its total e-commerce gross merchandise volume reached 109.6 billion yuan (US$16.6 billion).

Its 2019 revenue rose to 39.1 billion yuan at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 117 per cent, according to Kuaishou’s filing. First-half revenue gained 48 per cent from last year to 25.3 billion yuan. Revenue from live streaming amounted to 17.3 billion yuan in the first six months, after having more than tripled to 31.4 billion yuan last year, from 7.9 billion yuan in 2017.

The company aims to actively diversify revenue streams through e-commerce business, online games, online knowledge-sharing and other products and services, Kuaishou said.