You Think 2020 Was Hot for Asia’s Share Sales? 2021 Could Sizzle
A chart displayed on an electronic stock board outside a securities firm in Tokyo, Japan. (Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg)

You Think 2020 Was Hot for Asia’s Share Sales? 2021 Could Sizzle

With an initial public offering queue that includes a potential float of some assets by the world’s most-valuable startup ByteDance Ltd. and the listing of its short-video rival Kuaishou Technology, 2021 is shaping up to be a bonanza for Asian share sales.

It could even, some bankers say, beat 2020’s pandemic-defying year of sizzling IPOs.

“2021 is shaping up to be as busy, if not busier, than 2020, with many of the same themes we saw this year driving issuance,” said William Smiley, co-head of equity capital markets for Asia ex-Japan at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

“From a sector perspective, we expect health care and TMT to remain active, as well as consumer retail, driven by secular growth in mainland China,” he said.

Asia’s capital markets had a bumper 2020, defying expectations early in the year of an IPO drought, as a flood of liquidity and low interest rates saw investors globally chase returns in equities. The amount raised via first-time share sales in the region this year stands at $137 billion, set to be the highest 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

That’s been helped in large part by Chinese companies, which raised money in IPOs at home and overseas like never before, buoyed by the country’s early emergence from the pandemic. Firms like JD Health International Ltd. and bottled water giant Nongfu Spring Co. had strong debuts, mirroring gains stateside by tech giants like DoorDash Inc. and Airbnb Inc.

But while activity in the rest of the region, especially Southeast Asia, has remained low, bankers are counting on things to change next year as other countries recover from the virus.

The South Korean company behind the hit mobile game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and a Thai brewer are among listing hopefuls expected to give China’s tech stars competition for investor money in 2021.

Here is a list of debuts to watch out for in 2021:

1. Kuaishou Technology

The Tencent Holdings Ltd.-backed Chinese short video and live streaming startup filed its listing documents for a Hong Kong IPO in November and is expected to go public at the beginning of 2021. The firm is angling for a valuation of $50 billion in an offering that could raise as much as $5 billion, potentially making it one of the biggest IPOs of the year in the city, Bloomberg News has reported.

2. ByteDance

The Chinese video giant is considering a Hong Kong listing for some of its assets, including Douyin, its domestic version of TikTok, and news service Toutiao following a private funding round that could boost its valuation to $180 billion, Bloomberg News has reported. It has long been courted by bankers for a possible IPO given its size and high profile but has been in the throes of fighting a Trump administration ban on TikTok in the U.S.

3. Krafton Inc.

The company behind the hit mobile game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is planning a South Korean IPO which could be the country’s biggest ever. It is expected to be a multibillion dollar offering, with Maeil Business Newspaper putting the figure at $9 billion.

4. JD Logistics

The logistics arm of the No. 2 Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com Inc. is considering an IPO that could raise at least $5 billion and has held early discussions with banks, Bloomberg News has reported. JD Logistics is leaning toward Hong Kong as a venue but nothing has been decided yet.

5. FWD Group

The Asian insurer backed by billionaire Richard Li is planning a Hong Kong IPO that could raise as much as $3 billion in what would be Asia’s biggest by an insurer since 2015, Bloomberg News has reported.

6. Wahaha

One of China’s biggest drink makers, Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co., is mulling an IPO that could raise over $1 billion, Bloomberg News has reported. Hong Kong has been considered among possible listing venues. Wahaha’s products range from bottled water, yogurt drinks and juice to instant noodles.

7. Autohome

Autohome Inc., a New York-listed Chinese online car-sales website, is planning a secondary listing in Hong Kong that could raise about $1 billion, Bloomberg News has reported. It is one of many U.S.-traded Chinese firms eyeing share sales in Hong Kong as a way to hedge against worsening Sino-U.S. relations and expand their investor base.

8. ThaiBev’s brewery business

Thai Beverage Pcl is planning a multibillion dollar Singapore IPO for its brewery business that could value it at as much as $10 billion, Bloomberg News has reported. The IPO was originally scheduled for this year but had to be pushed back due to the coronavirus outbreak.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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