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China’s Meituan Dianping soars after float

Movie ticketing and services firm Meituan Dianping has become one of China’s most valuable companies within hours of being floated in Hong Kong.

The Tencent-backed firm, which offers online tickets as well as food delivery and hotel booking to more than 300 million customers, saw its stock surge by as much as seven per cent in early trading in Hong Kong on Thursday, meaning Meituan is now valued at more than $50bn (£38bn/€42bn).

Tencent controls 20% of Meituan, and Sequoia Capital has 11%. Last year, Meituan’s losses tripled to $5bn on revenues that soared to around $8.5bn. This is chiefly because Meituan has been spending aggressively to gain market share.

Meituan “founded and incubated” movie ticket site Maoyan, but divested it from July 2016, selling a 67% stake for $627m. It followed that by selling a further 20% for $262m in August 2017.

The two groups have a five-year exclusive co-operation agreement, that runs until July 2021, in which Meituan will drive traffic and other resources to Maoyan.

Maoyan is also preparing for its own IPO, after earlier this month submitting a prospectus under the name Entertainment Plus. It has been reported that it aims to raise up to $1bn.

Maoyan is the largest online movie ticketing app service in China, but faces a challenge from Alibaba’s Tao Piao Piao.

Last November, Maoyan raised around $150m from Tencent at a $3bn valuation, a couple of months after merging with Weiying, another ticketing service backed by Tencent.