Yalla Technology FZ-LLC, which develops a voice-chat app that focuses on the Middle East market, is planning an initial public offering in the U.S., people familiar with the matter said.
The Hangzhou-based company is working with financial advisers on the planned share sale that could raise about $100 million to $200 million, said the people. The timeline of the IPO hasn’t been finalized, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.
Yalla, founded in 2016, is among a handful of Chinese social-media companies that are tapping the booming wireless-services market in the Middle East and North Africa. Mobile industries are estimated to contribute almost $200 billion to the area’s economy by 2020 as smart phones become more widespread, according to a GSM Association report.
Discussions of the share sale are continuing and details of the offering could still change, the people said. Representatives for Yalla didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Yalla services including a group voice chat and games built in to its app have gained users in countries such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Turkey. It has received funding from investors including U.S. institutional brokerage firm Susquehanna International Group LLP and Chinese private-equity firm Orchid Asia Group Management Ltd. Yalla’s app served more than 20 million users as of June 2018, according to Orchid Asia’s website.