Fresh from yesterday’s rumours about the name of Bytedance’s new music-streaming service, now there’s some new speculation about the company’s plans to go public. The Financial Times, no less, reported that Bytedance is “eyeing an initial public offering in Hong Kong as soon as the first quarter of next year”, having opted against an IPO in New York.
A Bytedance IPO would be a big deal: when the company raised a $3bn funding round in October 2018, its valuation was reportedly $75bn (the equivalent, at the time of writing, of nearly three Spotifys). As the FT noted, Bytedance would be going public at a time of intensifying scrutiny on the company’s TikTok subsidiary in the US – this may be a factor in choosing to list in Hong Kong. However, its report suggests that Bytedance has taken on new public-policy advisers in the US and is looking for “a chief legal officer and staff with Washington connections” to press its case with politicians there.