Bytedance, the $75bn Chinese firm behind short-form video app Tiktok, has denied reports it is considering an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong as soon as next year.
The Financial Times has reported that the seven-year-old startup could list in the territory as soon as the first quarter of next year, but Bytedance denied it had immediate plans to float.
“There is absolutely zero truth to the rumours that we plan to list in Hong Kong in the first quarter,” said a Bytedance spokesperson, who did not rule out the possibility of a listing later in 2020.
Reuters reported that Bytedance’s plans to list were not imminent, citing four sources familiar with the company.
Bytedance’s valuation reached $75bn in October last year when it closed a $3bn funding round led by Japenese tech investment titan Softbank.
The valuation doubled the firm’s worth compared to a year earlier, and makes it one of the world’s most valuable unicorns – private firms worth $1bn or more. Speculation it is considering an IPO has been rife since last year.
The company, which also owns Indian social media app Helo, is said to be favouring Hong Kong over New York for a potential listing despite ongoing unrest in the region.
Politicians in India have accused Tiktok – which allows users to create short lip-sync, music, and looping videos – of inciting religious violence and spreading pornography. The app was briefly banned in the country earlier this year.
The app has become hugely popular among teenagers in the US, but two leading senators called for intelligence officials to assess any national security risks posed by Tiktok last week.
“With over 110m downloads in the US alone, TikTok is a potential counter-intelligence threat we cannot ignore,” Chuck Schumer and Tom Cotton said in a letter.
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