ByteDance, the Chinese internet company that develops video-sharing platform TikTok, has submitted papers for an initial public offering in Hong Kong’s stock market, a mainland media report says.
But the report, published by the China Securities Journal, appeared only briefly on its website on Wednesday and was taken down on the same day.
ByteDance has not made any comments on the article.
Last month, the Beijing-based company hired Chew Shou Zi, the former international business head of smartphone maker Xiaomi, as its chief financial officer, sparking talk of preparations for a public listing.
The company owns a slew of popular video-sharing online platforms including TikTok, its mainland Chinese version Douyin, and Xigua Video, along with investments in education, e-commerce and online gaming.
ByteDance had an estimated market value of close to US$400 billion, about 1.8 times the value of its main competitor Kuaishou, Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post reported earlier this month.
Company founder Zhang Yiming, 38, owns a stake of about 25%, and a listing could expand his wealth by US$100 billion, propelling him past other Chinese billionaires including Alibaba’s Jack Ma and Tencent’s Ma Huateng to become China’s richest person.
ByteDance was valued at US$180 billion during its last fundraising exercise, when a group of investors led by private equity funds Sequoia Capital and KKR injected fresh funds in November last year. The valuation was up from about US$20 billion three years ago, according to market intelligence CB Insights.
In the United States, the Chinese company is facing uncertainty under an executive order signed last year by then president Donald Trump ordering it to sell its business interests in the country. The current U.S. administration of Joe Biden is also reviewing national security risks posed by Chinese technological firms.
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