Kuaishou reaches $159 billion valuation after largest tech IPO since Uber

Business & Technology

Chinese short-video giant Kuaishou made a splashy IPO in Hong Kong, reaching a valuation close to its larger competitor, Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. Will Douyin’s parent company, ByteDance, follow and also list its short-video product in Hong Kong?

Photo via Oriental Images/REUTERS.

Chinese short-video giant Kuaishou, a primary competitor to TikTok’s Chinese counterpart, Douyin, made a splash on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange today with a $5.4 billion IPO. It was the largest tech company listing since Uber in 2019. 

  • In terms of first-day performance, the 161% gain that Kuaishou registered was the “second-best debut ever for an IPO over $1 billion in the world,” Bloomberg reports
  • Kuaishou is now worth $159 billion, nearly the level of Douyin parent ByteDance, which “last sought funds at a $180 billion valuation,” per Bloomberg. 
  • Douyin has roughly double Kuaishou’s number of active users, Caixin notes — 600 million versus 300 million, roughly — but both companies have significantly more users than some Western social media apps like Twitter (187 million) and Snapchat (249 million). 

Will ByteDance follow?

Now that Kuaishou has made a strong debut on the markets, and China’s other major social video and livestreaming company, Bilibili, is planning to make a secondary listing in Hong Kong, analysts expect ByteDance to consider listing Douyin.

  • ByteDance is “said to be in discussions to list some of its assets in Hong Kong,” according to Bloomberg. 
  • With the COVID-19 pandemic putting drag and uncertainty on many sectors, investors are “focused…more in tech stocks that have a strong growth story,” one analyst told Bloomberg. 
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that “institutional investors also valued IPOs like this as a way to invest in China’s new economy, which offered growth potential and was relatively insulated from global economic conditions,” citing an analyst. 
  • Chinese retail investors may also be finding ways around capital controls, with regulators turning a blind eye, reports Bloomberg via Yahoo, suggesting that this is actually “one of the biggest factors behind the frenzy” in recent Hong Kong IPOs. 

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