Chinese tech giant ByteDance is in early-stage talks to list the Chinese version of its short video app Douyin on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong.
In recent weeks, ByteDance’s representatives have met with several investment banks to discuss the matter, while holding talks internally, as Reuters reported today, citing a person familiar with the situation. A second source noted that investment banks have been conducting “research and analysis” in regards to a “standalone” IPO for Douyin.
Separately today, CNBC reported that ByteDance was in early discussions to list “some of its businesses” including Douyin.
In late July, Reuters reported that ByteDance was considering listing its native business in either Hong Kong or Shanghai.
The news comes as the Trump administration has attempted to ban ByteDance’s American version of the short video app known as TikTok. While the courts have halted the ban, the Trump administration claimed on Friday that it has the authority to block Americans from using the app because of the alleged national security threat.
"The President should not be prevented from regulating national-security threats simply because a foreign adversary cloaks its activities within a media company," U.S government lawyers said in a court filing.
Similar to ByteDance, Jack Ma’s Ant Group has been in the middle of trade tensions between Washington and Beijing as it sought a public listing. However—that didn’t stop Ant from pulling off the world’s largest IPO ever. Today, it priced its IPO and raised $34.5 billion in a dual listing on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong and Shanghai’s Nasdaq like Star Market.
In the U.S., TikTok has roughly 100 million monthly active users. According to Douyin, it had 600 million daily active users as of August.
According to the report from Reuters in July, ByteDance brought $2.9 billion in profit in July. In 2020, the company has aimed to generate $28.62 billion in revenues with TikTok expected to account for $1 billion of the total.
China accounts for the majority of ByteDance’s revenues of roughly $16 billion in 2019, which were mainly derived from apps such as Douyin, Jinri Toutiao, Xigua, and Pipixia.