One of China's Most Valuable Tech Firms Mulls Domestic IPO If Listing Rules Change
Liao Shumin
/SOURCE : Yicai
One of China's Most Valuable Tech Firms Mulls Domestic IPO If Listing Rules Change

(Yicai Global) March 5 -- One of the highest-valued Chinese tech companies, operator of the country's biggest news app Toutiao, would welcome the opportunity to make an initial public offering of shares at home should the regulatory environment permit such a move.

China's securities watchdog is preparing a special channel for listing new economy firms in emerging, high-growth technology sectors, as well as unicorns, or startups worth more than USD1 billion. Issues that concern internet companies such as variable interest entity, where an investor has a controlling interest not based on a majority of voting rights, and profit-to-investment ratios are expected to receive policy support.

"We are closely monitoring progress," an official at Byte Dance Telecommunications Co., owner of Toutiao, told state-run news outlet The Paper yesterday. "If the policy allows it in the future, we will actively respond to the nation's call and consider listing in the domestic capital market."

China's three largest tech companies -- Baidu Inc., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., collectively known as BAT -- all floated on overseas markets. Alibaba's floatation in New York was the world's biggest so far, raising USD25 billion in 2014. Up-and-coming internet businesses such as Byte Dance, Beijing Sankuai Online Technology Co. (owner of Meituan, China's version of Yelp) and ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing Technology Co. are seen as the most promising and disruptive of unicorns.

Beijing-based Byte Dance is seeking new funding to increase its worth to USD30 billion or more and has started to contact investors, reports said at the end of last year. The company held its last financing round in August. It did not disclose details, but Reuters cited insiders as saying it had raised USD2 billion, lifting its valuation to USD20 billion.

Toutiao had 178 million monthly active users as of June 2017, according to data from QuestMobile Internet Technology Co.

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