China’s Kuaishou and Motion Magic Take Further Steps Towards IPOs

Chinese social media firm Kuaishou and post-production and VFX company Motion Magic Digital Entertainment have both taken further steps towards initial listing of their shares.

Kuaishou, which may be the world’s second most downloaded video sharing app after Bytedance’s TikTok/Douyin, is reported to have set a date and target price for its previously announced IPO in Hong Kong. An update of the partially-redacted November prospectus has not been made public by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, though a revised draft appears to have been circulated within the finance industry.

Financial media in Hong Kong newly report that the company will target a late-January 2021 market debut. Mainland Chinese media are even more precise. One site, 36kr reports that Kuaishou will begin its share sale on Jan. 4 and its stock begin trading on Feb. 5.

The same media report that Kuaishou will aim for an initial valuation of RMB390 billion or $50 billion. That is a 60% increase on the $30 billion valuation ascribed to its most recent funding round. 36kr reports that it will attempt to raise RMB39 billion ($5 billion) of new money.

According to the media reports, the revised document shows Kuaishou’s net losses widened to RMB68.1 billion ($10.4 billion) in the six months ended June 30, from a loss of RMB269 million ($41 million) a year earlier. Revenue for the half-year rose nearly 50% to RMB25.3 billion $3.86 billion).

On a much smaller scale, Motion Magic Digital Entertainment has registered with mainland China stock market regulator the China Securities Regulatory Commission and appointed investment bankers to help it be spun off from state-owned Shanghai Media Group, which currently owns a 57% stake.

Motion Magic is a 20-year-old firm with interests in computer graphics animation and special effects production, video postproduction. It is also involved in digital marketing services and location-based entertainment. Chinese media report that the company provided effects for popular variety show “Keep Running” and for the Japanese film “Final Fantasy XV,” and that it independently produced the “Battle Through the Heavens” cartoon.

Further entertainment listings are also on the cards in Greater China. Local media have reported that Bytedance is looking to spin out either or both of Toutiao, a news aggregator unit, or Douyin, its smash hit mainland Chinese equivalent of TikTok. Other reports suggest that video entertainment firm Bilibili, which has a listing on the NASDAQ in New York will seek a secondary share quote in Hong Kong.

That trend may be accelerated in 2021 following U.S. president Donald Trump’s signing last week of the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act. It will remove Chinese companies from American stock exchanges if they fail to comply with U.S. auditing oversight rules within three years.

Companies such as New York-listed Alibaba have already given themselves a secondary listing in Hong Kong, as a possible escape route, should the U.S. regulations prove onerous. A Chinese government spokesman recently accused the U.S. of bullying and weaponizing trade. But it also seems likely that mainland authorities would welcome coming home to Hong Kong and mainland bourses, which would provide a chance of closer regulatory oversight.

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