ByteDance Aims For Hong Kong IPO By Early 2022, Sources Say

According to a Sunday report by Financial Times, ByteDance; the parent company of short video social networking app TikTok, has restored its plans to launch an initial public offering (IPO) and list in Hong Kong by 2022, after addressing Chinese regulators’ concerns.

ByteDance, one of the world’s most valuable companies, is planning to list in either the fourth quarter of this year or in early 2022, Financial Times said, citing sources familiar with the matter. “We are expecting final guidance from ByteDance in September. They are submitting all the filings with Chinese authorities right now and are going through the review process.”

A ByteDance spokesperson, however, debunked the Financial Times report saying it was not accurate, and declined to provide more details. Earlier this year in April, ByteDance said it had no imminent plans for an initial public offering (IPO).

Beijing-based ByteDance is also the developer of the video-sharing social networking service Douyin, the Chinese-specific counterpart to TikTok. It also develops the news and information platform Toutiao. As of November 2018, ByteDance had over 800 million daily active users (over 1 billion accumulated users) across all of its content platforms.

ByteDance has been working on addressing data security concerns raised by regulators, and has faced a handful of regulatory actions. In recent months, Chinese regulators have stepped up their scrutiny of the tech sector and tightened restrictions around the sector, and companies like ByteDance were not left out.

China’s tech giants have been placed under increasing pressure from regulators and rules aimed at stopping China’s tech giants and major companies from abusing their dominant market position have been introduced.

In October last year, Chinese regulators stepped in to block the share market launch of Alibaba-backed Ant Group. In turn, Jack Ma, founder, and CEO of Alibaba spoke against China’s regulatory approach to the financial technology sector. As a retaliatory move, regulators launched an anti-monopoly investigation against Alibaba- China’s largest e-commerce platform.

In March, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) fined 12 companies over 10 deals that violated anti-monopoly rules. The companies included Tencent, Baidu, Didi Chuxing, SoftBank, and a ByteDance-backed firm.

In July, China’s regulator ordered Tencent Holdings Ltd. to give up its music exclusivity rights. The tech giant was given an ultimatum of 30 days to comply with the order, which came about a week after sources revealed that China’s antitrust regulator was set to take over control of Tencent Holdings music streaming arm.

According to China Central Television (CCTV), the Chinese regulators were ordered by China’s President Xi Jinping to step up their oversight of internet companies, to crack down on monopolies, and promote fair competition.

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