Tencent-backed video site said to seek $17bn valuation


Tencent CEO Pony Ma attends a news conference anno

Tencent CEO Pony Ma attends a news conference announcing the company’s results in Hong Kong. (Pic: AP)

Hong Kong – Tencent-backed Chinese start-up Kuaishou is seeking to raise funds at about a $17bn valuation, people familiar with the matter said, as it expands its video-streaming service to Southeast Asia.

The company is targeting around $1bn of financing, the sources said, asking not to be identified discussing a private deal. Its targeted valuation would be almost six times the $3bn it managed when it last raised funds in March, they said.

Tech giants from Tencent Holdings to Alibaba Group Holding are investing billions of dollars in video content because it’s proven highly effective at keeping ad revenue-generating users glued to their platforms.

The latest investment in Kuaishou or “fast hand” – a video platform in the same vein as Instagram or Periscope – comes ahead of a potential initial public offering.

No final agreements have been reached and details of the fundraising could change, the sources added. A representative for Kuaishou said she couldn’t immediately comment.

Kuaishou’s more than 100 million daily active users watch short clips and broadcasts of everything from noodle-slurping to physical feats of prowess, with more than 10 million videos uploaded a day.

Unlike rival services run by YY or Momo, most of its viewers and uploaders live in the countryside or smaller communities.

The company, also backed by Baidu, competed with news aggregation giant Beijing Bytedance Technology Company to buy Musical.ly in November, but walked away during the final stages.

The funding underscores the lofty valuations Chinese companies are fetching in a market awash with capital. Five of the world’s 10 biggest venture deals were in Chinese-based companies last year, while the US accounted for two, according to researcher Preqin.

The largest globally was the $5.5bn funding in the Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing. A total of $65bn was invested in greater China, compared to $77bn in North America, according to Preqin.

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