Chinese online movie ticketing firm Maoyan Weiying (猫眼微影) has filed Monday with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange for an initial public offering (IPO), marking the latest case of a swath of Chinese tech unicorns seeking capital from the public market to keep growing their businesses and fending off heated domestic competition.
Maoyan is the result of a September 2017 merger between O2O giant Meituan’s Maoyan, which has received funding from film company Enlight Media, and Tencent-backed Weiying. This was a consolidation move to help Tencent and Meituan fight Alibaba’s movie ticketing platform Tao Piao Piao, which has helped the e-commerce behemoth grow its film company Alibaba Pictures.
Maoyan claims to be the largest movie ticketing service in China, commanding an overwhelming 60% market share, and serving a whopping over 130 million monthly active users.
While the exact amount Maoyan Weiying is planning to raise remains undisclosed, a Bloomberg report in January 2018 citing people familiar with the matter said that the firm is looking to secure around US$1 billion.
The funds raised will be spent on improving its offerings and services, increasing user reach and engagement numbers, boosting its business through offline resources as well as strategic investments and acquisitions, and upgrade its technology infrastructure and research & development capabilities.
Founded in 2012, the company has experienced strong and consistent revenue growth, partly attributable to China’s rapidly growing movie market, now the largest in the world ahead of the US. Xinhua reported in June that 80% of cinema ticket revenues in China last year were from online sales.
Maoyan Weiying has been growing at a quick pace over the last couple years, its annual net income grows from RMB298 million in 2015 to 1.74 billion in 2017, growth more than doubled yoy in past two years.
It also made an adjusted net income of more than RMB216 million last year, turning a profit for the first time.
While Maoyan Weiying is rooted in online movie ticketing, working with 300 consultants and more than 8,500 cinemas as it claimed in its prospectus, the firm has also branched out into other areas and verticals, from analytics services and content creation to promoting live performances. It has connections to more than 2,000 event promoters, venue operators and offline media companies, according to its prospectus.
Underwriters for the deal include Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, with China Renaissance as the financial advisor.
Editor: Ben Jiang