Chinese voice-chat app Yalla gears up for US IPO

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.

Bloomberg

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.

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.