TikTok owner ByteDance ditches US, considers listing China business in Hong Kong

WION Web Team Beijing, China Jul 31, 2020, 12.23 PM(IST)

TikTok Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The Beijing-based tech and media company had originally wanted to list as a combined entity, including TikTok and other operations, in New York or Hong Kong in a blockbuster deal.

Chinese tech giant ByteDance is considering listing its domestic business in Hong Kong or Shanghai, against a backdrop of rising Sino-US tensions over its hit non-China video app TikTok.

Of the two venues, the company prefers Hong Kong, according to Reuters. 

The Beijing-based tech and media company had originally wanted to list as a combined entity, including TikTok and other operations, in New York or Hong Kong in a blockbuster deal.

It's also said ByteDance is simultaneously studying the option to list its smaller, non-China business - which includes TikTok that is not available in China - in Europe or the United States.

Reuters previously reported China accounts for the bulk of ByteDance revenue, which one source said was around $16 billion in 2019. A standalone listing could value the China business at more than $100 billion in Hong Kong or on Shanghai's Nasdaq-style STAR Market.

The review of separate plans for the China business comes amid growing concerns over US regulatory scrutiny and uncertainty over whether a 2013 audit deal between Beijing and Washington, that underpins Chinese firms listing in the United States, will remain intact.

Plans may also be complicated by some heavyweight ByteDance investors looking to take over TikTok at a valuation of $50 billion. TikTok faces pressure from US regulators who have spoken about banning the app, or requiring ByteDance to sell it, over suspicions Beijing could force its owner to turn over data on US users.

The China business listing idea comes as diplomatic strains have risen between Beijing and capitals in countries elsewhere including the United States, India and Britain.

US-listed Chinese companies also face tightened financial scrutiny and stricter audit requirements from US regulators, prompting a number of Chinese companies including search engine giant Baidu and online travel firm Trip.com Group to consider abandoning a New York listing and move instead to an exchange closer to home.

(with inputs from agencies)