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Kuaishou stock soars 160% in world’s biggest IPO since 2019

Kuaishou’s stock skyrocketed in value Friday as the TikTok-like video app scored the world’s biggest IPO since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Shares closed at 300 Hong Kong dollars ($38.70) apiece, marking a 161% jump over the 115 Hong Kong dollars ($14.80) the firm issued them at. It raised a total of 41.28 billion Hong Kong dollars ($5.32 billion) in the offering.

If the company exercises an over-allotment option, the total raised could hit 47 billion Hong Kong dollars (almost $6.1 billion).

It’s the world’s biggest tech listing since Uber’s IPO in May 2019, and the largest public offering globally since Saudi Aramco’s in December 2019, according to data provider Eikon Refinitiv.

Kuaishou is one of China’s leading social media firms. The Tencent-backed company, whose name means “fast hand” in Chinese, owns an eponymous short-video and live-streaming app. Its platforms and mini programs have more than 300 million daily active users.

It gets most of its revenue from the live-streaming business, where users can buy virtual items and present them as gifts to their favorite hosts. Live-streaming transactions accounted for 84% of revenue in 2019, according to a stock exchange filing. It also makes money off of online advertising.

The company’s listing had been widely anticipated for months. In a filing this week, it said that the offering had been heavily oversubscribed.

“This is an incredible outcome,” said David Chao, co-founder and general partner of DCM, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm with $4 billion under management. His company was one of the earliest investors in Kuaishou, leading one of its first funding rounds back in 2014.

DCM still has a 9.2% stake in the social network, which is worth more than $14 billion at current market value on Friday. The firm said that would generate a return of roughly 600 times its original investment.

By focusing early on the rise of live-streaming and virtual goods, Chao said the company has tapped in on “a new form of monetization that the US is just starting to understand.”

Kuaishou is the latest company to make a splash by going public in Hong Kong, which has spent the last year reinventing itself as a hot venue for Chinese tech firms.

Since 2019, Alibaba, NetEase and have all held secondary listings in the Asian financial hub. The city also made changes last year intended to attract even more companies. Index compiler Hang Seng Indexes, for example, launched a Nasdaq-like technology index to track the largest tech firms that trade in the city.

Though its listing proves a major win, Kuaishou still faces significant challenges. It’s long competed with industry leader ByteDance, which owns the Douyin app — the Chinese version of TikTok.

The listing also comes at a time when the tech sector is facing a regulatory clampdown in China. In its prospectus, Kuaishou alluded to that risk, pointing to “the fact that the internet business is highly regulated in China.”

— Laura He and Jill Disis contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: Consumer

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