China’s news app Qu Toutiao said to mull U.S. IPO at $3b valuation

People use smartphones in Beijing, China, on Saturday, March 7, 2015. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Qu Toutiao, a Chinese news and video aggregation mobile app, is weighing a U.S. initial public offering, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Shanghai-based startup, whose name means “Fun Headlines,” is considering seeking a valuation of as much as $3 billion from the share sale, according to the people. It may list as soon as this year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Qu Toutiao, which launched in June 2016, extracts content from online sources and media partners including the People’s Daily website, Beijing Times and financial news portal Hexun.com. It then repackages the news into customized feeds based on users’ interests and reading patterns.

The offerings from Qu Toutiao are often more light-hearted than rival news aggregation service Jinri Toutiao, which is one of China’s largest startups. Jinri Toutiao was valued at about $20 billion last year, a person with knowledge of the matter has said. Qu Toutiao has no connection to the more popular Jinri Toutiao, which translates as “Today’s Headlines” and is run by Beijing ByteDance Technology Co.

Deliberations on a potential listing of Qu Toutiao are at an early stage, and there’s no certainty they will lead to a transaction, the people said. A representative for Qu Toutiao declined to comment.

Qu Toutiao, which operates as a mobile-only service, is popular among residents of so-called third- and fourth-tier Chinese cities, which are usually smaller and less prosperous than urban centers like Beijing and Shanghai, according to its website. It was used on 32.9 million unique devices in January, ranking 128th among all mobile apps available in the country, according to a report from industry consultancy iResearch.

Bloomberg

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.