Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

China's Top Movie Ticketing App Said to Plan $1 Billion IPO

Updated on
  • Maoyan Weying targets Hong Kong listing later this year
  • Firm invested in ‘Transformers’ franchise’s latest installment

Maoyan Weying, China’s biggest online movie ticketing platform, is planning a Hong Kong initial public offering that could raise about $1 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The company, which also helped fund the latest “Transformers” movie, has held initial discussions with potential advisers about the share sale, according to one of the people. It is targeting a listing later this year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. 

Maoyan Weying, whose backers include Shenzhen-listed film producer Beijing Enlight Media Co., was formed in September through the merger of two rival ticketing platforms. Its other investors include Tencent Holdings Ltd., the biggest Chinese internet company, as well as Meituan Dianping, the country’s largest group-buying and restaurant reviews service. 

China’s box-office receipts rose 15 percent last year to 52 billion yuan ($8 billion), making it the world’s second largest movie market after the U.S. Almost 80 percent of movie tickets in the country are sold through mobile apps, and Maoyan Weying is the largest ticketing provider with a 52.5 percent market share as of the third quarter 2017, according to researcher Analysys.

A spokesman for Maoyan Weying said he couldn’t immediately comment, while representatives for Enlight Media and Tencent declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Meituan confirmed that Maoyan Weying plans to seek a listing, without elaborating further.

Listing Revival

Maoyan Weying raised 1 billion yuan from Tencent in a November funding round that valued the company at 20 billion yuan. In addition to its ticketing platform, the company has also distributed and marketed movies in China including “Transformers: The Last Knight.”

Hong Kong is forecast to see a revival in new listings this year, after fundraising from first-time share sales fell to a five-year low of $16.5 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The city is expected to host 150 IPOs in 2018, headlined by some significant technology offerings, Benson Wong, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said in a Bloomberg TV interview last week.

Raising funds in Hong Kong could help Tencent-backed Maoyan Weying expand as it ratchets up competition with the rival TaoPiaoPiao service, which is backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s film affiliate. The market share gap between Maoyan Weying and its smaller rival could increase further, Chen Liteng, a researcher at the China E-Commerce Research Center in Hangzhou, said Friday.

China’s private market has pushed tech-related companies to lofty valuations. Five of the world’s 10 biggest venture capital deals were in China-based companies last year, while the U.S. accounted for two, according to researcher Preqin. The largest globally was the $5.5 billion fundraising for Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing.

— With assistance by Jing Yang De Morel

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