BY YINGZHI YANG AND Brenda Goh
BEIJING (Reuters) – TikTok-owner ByteDance is in discussions internally and with investment banks to list its Chinese short video app Douyin in Hong Kong, according to two people familiar with the situation.
ByteDance has discussed internally about the potential scenario and its representatives have met several investment banks in recent weeks to talk about such a possibility for Douyin, one of the people said, adding that the talks are very preliminary.
TikTok is not available in China and Douyin is TikTok’s Chinese counterpart.
Investment banks have been doing research and analysis about a standalone IPO for Douyin, according to the second person.
A ByteDance spokeswoman declined to comment on behalf of the company and Douyin. The people declined to be named as the information isn’t public.
Reuters reported in July that ByteDance studied the possibility to list its China business, including Douyin, in Hong Kong or Shanghai’s STAR Board, against a backdrop of rising Sino-U.S. tensions over its hit non-China video app TikTok.
ByteDance has been under pressure in the United States to sell the popular app’s U.S. arm. The White House contends that TikTok poses national security concerns as personal data collected on 100 million Americans who use the app could be obtained by China’s government. People briefed on the matter do not expect any final agreement on TikTok before the election, Reuters has reported.
U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington issued a preliminary injunction on Sept. 27 that barred the U.S. Commerce Department from ordering app stores to remove the Chinese-owned short video-sharing app for download by new users.
Douyin, where users watch and upload short videos, is hugely popular in China. Douyin said it amassed 600 million daily active users as of August.
ByteDance’s other Chinese operations include news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, work collaboration tool Feishu and video-streaming app Xigua.
(Reporting by Yingzhi Yang in Beijing and Brenda Goh in Shanghai; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Muralikumar Anantharaman)
Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.