Menu icons are displayed on the Meituan application, taken in Hong Kong, China.(Photographer: Justin Chin/Bloomberg)

Chinese Internet Giant Meituan Is Said to File for Hong Kong IPO

(Bloomberg) -- Internet giant Meituan Dianping has filed for an initial public offering in Hong Kong, becoming the latest Chinese technology juggernaut to throw a multi-billion-dollar coming-out party in the former British colony this year, according a person familiar with its filing documents.

The food delivery and restaurant reviews service submitted documents for a share listing late on Friday, the person said. The startup was said to have been targeting a fundraising of $6 billion at a valuation of roughly $60 billion, (though Friday’s filing didn’t specify numbers.) Smartphone giant Xiaomi is now in the process of raising as much as $6.1 billion in what would be the world’s largest IPO in two years.

In its share sale filing, Meituan disclosed that it made a net loss of 19 billion yuan ($2.9 billion) on total revenue of 34 billion yuan ($5.2 billion) for the fiscal year of 2017, the person said. The company said its adjusted loss was 2.8 billion yuan.

Coming on the heels of Xiaomi’s IPO, Meituan’s debut is another signal of China’s rising technology might -- a flashpoint for tensions with the U.S. A generation of up-and-comers like Meituan and ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing are emerging to build out an internet industry long dominated by social media giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., e-commerce player Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and search engine operator Baidu Inc.

Meituan was most recently valued at $30 billion, making it the world’s fourth most valuable startup according to CB Insights. It’s sort a mash-up of Groupon, Yelp and Deliveroo with restaurant reviews, group-buying discounts and deliveries of food, groceries and other goods. It’s more recently expanded into areas such as ride-sharing, bikes and travel. With a few taps to navigate its smartphone apps, Chinese customers can order up hot meals, groceries, massages, haircuts and manicures at home or in the office.

Chief Executive Officer Wang Xing founded Meituan.com in 2010 as a group-buying site similar to Groupon Inc. before a 2015 merger with Dianping, which provided reviews of restaurants and other local businesses. The combined company handled $57 billion of transactions last year between about 320 million active buyers -- about the size of the American population --- and more than four million merchants.

Chinese Internet Giant Meituan Is Said to File for Hong Kong IPO

An IPO would give Meituan additional capital to compete and even to expand. The company however faces formidable rivals in key businesses. It’s competing with entities backed by Alibaba in food delivery, with Didi Chuxing in ride hailing, and even with its own backer Tencent in payments. It also expanded into bike sharing with a deal for Mobike said to be valued at $3.4 billion.

Meituan is also considered a prime candidate to eventually sell Chinese depositary shares, a government program to give more opportunities to domestic investors and stem a corporate exodus to overseas markets. Its other existing backers include Booking Holdings Inc., Sequoia Capital, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Trustbridge Partners, Tiger Global Management, Coatue Management and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC.

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