Tencent-backed WeDoctor invites banks for $1b Hong Kong IPO

Photo: Reuters

WeDoctor will push ahead with a Hong Kong listing and invite pitches from investments banks next week to lead an IPO valuing the Chinese healthcare platform at up to $10 billion, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The Hangzhou-based company, which is backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd and Goldman Sachs, could look to raise up to $1 billion in the IPO, and could be among the first major Hong Kong listings since the coronavirus outbreak began.

WeDoctor has invited investment banks in Hong Kong and mainland China to a ‘beauty parade’, which will be held via video conferencing and in person at the company’s offices for bankers located in China, three sources said.

The company’s new chief financial officer John Cai, who is set to join from WeDoctor shareholder and strategic partner AIA where he was chief executive, will take part in the discussions from Hong Kong with bankers in the city.

Founded in 2010 by artificial intelligence expert Jerry Liao, WeDoctor has more than 210 million registered users mainly in China for its online appointment booking, prescription and diagnosis services. It is also linked to about 3,200 hospitals and 360,000 doctors.

The planned float, which will likely take place in the second half of the year, will include its core business – online healthcare services, one source said. It is considering whether to exclude some units such as cloud-services from the IPO.

WeDoctor declined to comment on its IPO plans.

The deal would be a sign that Hong Kong’s equity capital markets, which have been battered by a coronavirus-led slowdown, are set to regain some confidence in the second quarter of 2020.

WeDoctor raised $500 million in a private funding round in May 2018 which valued the company at $5.5 billion at the time.

It is among a spate of technology-driven firms looking to shake up China’s overburdened public healthcare market, with increasingly affluent consumers willing to pay for ways to get more convenient access to doctors and health services.

Its move also comes two years after rival Ping An Good Doctor, formally known as Ping An Healthcare and Technology Co Ltd, raised $1.1 billion in an IPO, but saw its shares later tumble as investors worried about its high valuation.

Reuters

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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.