BEIJING/HONG KONG, March 31 (Reuters) - ByteDance is in talks about a possible offshore listing of its short video app Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, in New York or Hong Kong, two people familiar with the matter said.
The TikTok owner’s exploration of an initial public offering (IPO) of Douyin in New York has emerged recently, according to the people. ByteDance earlier considered a standalone IPO for Douyin in Hong Kong, Reuters reported in October.
The company had also been considering listing some of its Chinese businesses including news aggregator Toutiao in Hong Kong or on Shanghai’s STAR market.
Beijing-based ByteDance was one of the candidates that Chinese regulators courted for years for a potential stock market debut on Nasdaq-style STAR Market, separate sources said.
However, the prospect of a STAR Market IPO for ByteDance has dimmed in the wake of the collapse of fintech Ant Group’s $37 billion IPO, said two sources. Chinese securities regulators are less likely to give the green light to another high-profile listing in the near future, the people said.
China Securities Regulatory Commission and ByteDance didn’t respond to Reuters requests for comment.
The people, who cautioned that no decisions on the listing have been made, declined to be named due to confidentiality constraints.
ByteDance last week hired former Xiaomi executive Shou Zi Chew for a newly-created chief financial officer role, seen as a sign an IPO could be nearer.
The company’s valuation in private trades has risen rapidly along with the market’s expectations of an IPO.
A year earlier, ByteDance granted employees shares that valued the company at $100 billion. Two weeks ago, its valuation rose to $270 billion. Last week, the figure jumped to $300 billion, according to ByteDance’s employees.
ByteDance had originally wanted to list its entire business in a blockbuster IPO in New York or Hong Kong before Washington highlighted concerns over TikTok’s handling of user data. (Reporting by Yingzhi Yang in Beijing and Julie Zhu in Hong Kong; Additional reporting by Cheng Leng in Beijing; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)