ByteDance’s IPO Plans Snarled by Regulatory Demands, SCMP Says
The logo for ByteDance Ltd.'s TikTok app is arranged for a photograph on a smartphone in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. (Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg)

ByteDance’s IPO Plans Snarled by Regulatory Demands, SCMP Says

TikTok parent ByteDance Ltd.’s plans for an initial public offering have been put on hold as it seeks to comply with regulatory demands from both China and the U.S., the South China Morning Post reported, citing unidentified sources.

The owner of China’s most popular video app Douyin faces difficulties in finding a business structure that can please both Beijing and Washington, the SCMP report said. One major challenge lies in separating Douyin’s China-based operations from TikTok’s global ones given both apps share the same algorithm, according to one of the sources in the report.

An unnamed Beijing-based government official involved in regulating ByteDance said the IPO had to be postponed because of tensions between the U.S. and China, the newspaper said. ByteDance and TikTok declined to comment to the SCMP.

Following weeks of speculation that a public offering was getting closer, the world’s most valuable startup said on Friday it currently has no plans to seek an IPO, adding that it had made a careful study and concluded it doesn’t meet listing conditions for the time being. Beijing-based ByteDance had been working with advisers on a float of some of its flagship domestic assets such as Douyin, news aggregator Toutiao and video platform Xigua that could raise billions, Bloomberg News reported earlier this month.

The company last month hired its first chief financial officer -- Chew Shou Zi, who oversaw Xiaomi Corp.’s IPO as finance chief more than two years ago. The appointment fueled speculation over the social media giant’s plans to go public. Its value has soared in recent weeks, with shares changing hands in the secondary market at a valuation of more than $250 billion.

Video-sharing app TikTok, which is hugely popular in the U.S., has been a source of tension between the world’s two biggest economies, with Washington claiming it’s a potential security threat if the app is used for propaganda or if the Chinese government uses collected data to create profiles of Americans.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump attempted to ban U.S. residents from doing business with TikTok but that effort foundered in the courts. ByteDance was also under pressure to sell its U.S. operations and it struck a deal with American companies including Oracle Corp. and Walmart Inc. last year. That is now on hold, as the Biden administration reviews its policies toward China.

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