After shelving US listing plans, Chinese audio platform Ximalaya files for Hong Kong IPO

China’s largest online audio platform Ximalaya Inc. has kicked off an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong, per a company filing with the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong on Monday. 

Reuters had reported late last week that Ximalaya had shelved its plan to list in the United States, amid Beijing’s tightening regulatory scrutiny of US listings by Chinese tech firms. Ximalaya had filed for an IPO in the US in April aiming to raise about $500 million. 

In the prospectus, Ximalaya didn’t disclose the Hong Kong IPO size.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and the Chinese investment bank China International Capital Corporation Limited (CICC) are acting as joint sponsors. 

Ximalaya plans to invest a large part of the IPO proceeds to enrich its content library and to incentivise content creators to produce quality content, especially the advancement of third-party IP partnerships, content licences, and content creators.

And, the rest will be used to shore up capacities such as next-generation technology, leadership, and operating efficiency.

Ximalaya, which started operations in 2012 and launched its flagship mobile app in 2013, aims to offer an immersive audio platform where content creators and users can communicate with each other. 

Shanghai-based Ximalaya has the biggest market share in the industry. In the first half of 2021, its monthly active users (MAU) amounted to 262.1 million across its app, official website, and third-party platforms.

During the same period, its mobile app users spent a total of 847.8 billion minutes listening to its audio content, accounting for nearly 70.9% of total mobile listening time among all online audio platforms in the country, it said. 

Chinese private equity firm Xingwang Investment and China market-focused investment firm Trustbridge Partner are the two largest external investors holding 10.72% and 7.46% stakes, respectively. Other majority shareholders include Chinese tech giants Tencent, Xiaomi, Baidu, and Japan’s Sony Music Entertainment, among others. 

In 2018, Ximalaya had garnered 4 billion yuan ($620 million) in a Series E round from Goldman Sachs, Tencent Investment, General Atlantic, Huatai Securities, and Hong Kong-based New Horizon. 

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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.