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Chinese News App Toutiao Considering Hong Kong IPO

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Joining the IPO rush by Chinese internet and technology startups, Toutiao – China’s biggest personalized news app’s parent Beijing Bytedance Telecommunications Co – is reportedly considering a Hong Kong IPO that may value it at over US$45 billion, according to a media report.

In addition to Toutiao, Bytedance also owns two popular short-video apps in China, and last year acquired, a U.S. short-video streaming app, for close to US$1 billion.

Founded in 2012, Bytedance owns a series of content platforms including its flagship product Toutiao that provides users personalized content through machine learning technology. The firm currently has nearly 200 million daily active users, each spending an hour each day on their products. It also holds stakes in Indian news app Dailyhunt and Indonesia’s BABE.

Last August, Bytedance raised a new funding round of over US$2 billion, led by American private equity firm General Atlantic, valuing the company at US$20 billion post-money it ranked eighth on China Money Network’s China Unicorn Ranking.

Its previous investors also include Sequoia Capital, Weibo and SIG China, and tech investment firm DST Global.

In April, the six-year old company found itself at the center of an increasingly harsh government crackdown that raised questions about the strength of its business model. At the same time, more established technology giants such as Baidu Inc, Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings were cutting in on Toutiao’s core businesses.

Although Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi’s IPO opening received a soft response amidst the tensed landscape between the U.S. and China, the race for IPO’s amongst Chinese tech companies seems to be soaring.

Meituan Dianping, a fast-growing Chinese startup that provides a range of online services, recently filed plans for a large IPO in Hong Kong in the coming months, aiming for a market valuation of more than $60 billion, the Journal previously reported.


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