China Literature, the online bookshop controlled by China’s social media giant Tencent, has filed for an initial share listing in Hong Kong. The flotation is expected to value the company at $5.5 billion (HK$42.6 billion) and raise US$935 million (HK$7.25 billion) of fresh capital.
The company is roughly equivalent to Amazon’s Kindle Store business model, and competes against other online bookstores in China operated by Alibaba and Baidu. The segment is popular with China’s youth, which reads a wide range of content on smartphones and tablet computers, and was estimated to be worth $666 million (RMB4.6 billion) in 2016.
The present-day company was formed from the merger of Tencent’s publishing and bookselling operation with Cloudary, a subsidiary of games company Shanda. Tencent owns 62%, while smaller stakes are held by Carlyle Group, and Trustbridge Partners.
The new shares being sold in the IPO will represent nearly 17% of the enlarged company and are given an indicative price range of HK$48 – HK$55 each. That puts the company’s initial market capitalization at US$5.5 billion – $6.31 billion (HK$42.6 billion – HK$48.9 billion).
The company represents 9.6 million literary works from 6.4 million authors, according to Reuters. Chinese financial review, Caixin reports that that company last year made profits of RMB30.4 million on revenues that grew by 60% to RMB2.6 billion. Some 77% of company revenues came from mobile literature, with copyright and other operations making up the balance.