(Yicai Global) June 6 -- Bytedance, the world's most valuable startup, said it has taken a 30 percent stake in Hupu, a sports community app with the most active users in China, for CNY1.26 billion (USD182.2 million) in a fundraising held ahead of the app's initial public offering.
It is the most Shanghai-based Hupu has raised since the firm was set up five years ago, Sina Finance reported today. Bytedance, the company behind news aggregator Jinri Toutiao and video platform TikTok, will work with it on content creation and interoperability. Hupu's management team remains the firm's biggest shareholder.
Formed in 2004, Hupu provides marketing planning, sports events marketing and management, as well as events management. It also operates businesses such as offline eSports events, e-commerce and gaming co-operation. It owns Hupu.com, the sports site with the most page views in China, a retail site for trending sports gear, and the app for Shihuo.cn. More than 30 million users had registered on its websites and apps as of March.
Hupu unveiled its IPO prospectus in April 2016, saying that it plans to go public on the Shanghai Stocks Exchange and hopes to raise CNY0.42 billion through a sale of 25 percent of equity. But it subsequently appeared on a list of firms whose IPO applications were rejected by the securities regulator. Some market analysts questioned Hupu's profitability over this period, saying that it depends too much on advertising income.
The company's operating revenue was CNY98 million (USD14.2 million), CNY142 million and CNY200 million from 2013 to 2015, respectively, with advertising accounting for 61 percent, up from 55 percent, as indicated in its IPO prospectus.
Hupu Sports Shanghai Media's pre-listing tutoring began in March, the regulator's Shanghai branch announced on April 23, indicating that Hupu is again preparing to go public.