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Chinese News Aggregation App Targets $3 Billion U.S. IPO

Qu Toutiao is reportedly making its own fun headlines these days, telling sources that it is eyeing an initial public offering that could value it as high as $3 billion.

CapitalWatch Staff
    Mar 14, 2018 2:48 PM  PT
author: CapitalWatch Staff   

Qu Toutiao, which means "Fun Headlines" in Chinese, is reportedly making its own fun headlines these days, telling sources that it is eyeing an initial public offering that could value it as high as $3 billion.

If successful, it would be an extraordinary valuation for a company, a news and video aggregation mobile app popular in mostly rural areas of China, that was launched less than 2 years ago. The company is considering an IPO in New York as soon as early this year, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News.

Although the name might sound similar, Qu Toutiao has no connection to the more popular news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, meaning "today's headlines" in Chinese. Both apps aggregate news and videos from hundreds of media outlets, but Qu Toutiao is more fun-oriented, meaning the content they extract is more light-hearted. The startup selects from more than 8,000 sites, influencers, and social media accounts, according to the company's website.. 

Its rival, Jinri Toutiao, is considered one of the most successful unicorn companies in China with a valuation of over $20 billion based on its latest funding round. Backed by Sequoia Capital and CCB International, Jinri Toutiao is planning to raise at least $2 billion through a U.S. IPO that could come as early as this year. 

Qu Toutiao, which operates as a mobile-only service, sends customized news feed to users based on their search results and selected topics of interest. The app is particularly popular among residents of third- and fourth-tier cities in China, according to its website. It was used on 32.9 million unique devices in January, placing it 128th among all mobile apps available in the country, according to a report from iResearch.


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