Renaming of ByteDance subsidiaries revives speculation on TikTok’s Hong Kong IPO

May 9, 2022 0 Comments

Beijing-based ByteDance, the Chinese owner of short video app TikTok, has renamed several subsidiaries as Douyin (the name of the domestic version of TikTok), reviving chatter about a possible IPO of its short video businesses.

According to information published on the Companies Registry of Hong Kong, ByteDance (Hong Kong) Limited, a legal entity established in 2012, was renamed Douyin Group (Hong Kong) Limited, which took effect on May 6.

Chinese corporate information platform Tianyancha also showed that ByteDance renamed two Beijing-based subsidiaries as Douyin-related entity. Beijing ByteDance Technology Limited, established in 2012, renamed Beijing Douyin Information Service Limited, while ByteDance Limited, is now Douyin Limited.

ByteDance’s exploration of an initial public offering (IPO) of short video businesses has been speculated for months, the recent name changes have renewed the speculation once again.

In October 2021, ByteDance was reportedly to be pondering an initial public offering of Douyin in Hong Kong, but the move was said to be delayed due to increased scrutiny over tech sectors from Chinese regulators. In addition, ByteDance quickly quashed speculation that it was ready to go public.

Speculation has revived about the short video businesses’ IPO after ByteDance hired veteran corporate lawyer Julie Gao as chief financial officer last month.

Julie Gao, previously a partner at American multinational law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates, has advised many Chinese technology companies like Meituan, JD, Pinduoduo, Xiaomi for public listings and other funding consulting services.

ByteDance’s CFO position was left vacant since November last year, when Chew Shou Zi relinquished that role to serve as chief executive of TikTok.

Douyin and TikTok play an increasingly important role for ByteDance, its potential growth on E-commerce has become a major focus of its business development and research for the future.

In January 2021, ByteDance launch its own third-party payment service for Douyin after it pressed to expand into the e-commerce business in China. Douyin started selling merchandise in 2017 and now it operates a growing e-commerce operation where hundreds of millions of users shop on a daily basis.

ByteDance, whose investors include Sequoia-backed funds, was valued at $250 billion in private-equity secondary market, according to estimation of unicorn valuation from Bloomberg intelligence; chairman Zhang Yiming has an estimated fortune worth $49.5 billion on the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List today.

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