ByteDance rival Kuaishou eyes $5b offering in HK

Chinese short video start-up Kuaishou in Beijing. (Photo: VCG)

Chinese online short video start-up Kuaishou aims to raise up to $5 billion in a Hong Kong 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, is targeting a valuation of over $50 billion, the people told Reuters, requesting anonymity due to confidentiality constraints.

Kuaishou operates its 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 US government.

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.

The company and banks did not respond to requests for comment.

Meaning "fast hand" in Chinese, Kuaishou's apps feature miscellaneous user-uploaded videos as well as live-streaming programs through which vendors can promote consumer products.

The Kuaishou app had 430 million monthly active users as of June, compared with 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 center. Nearly $20.3 billion worth of IPOs and secondary listings were conducted in Hong Kong from January to 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 US moved to bar US 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.