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Alibaba Affiliate Momo Files for U.S. Initial Public Offering

Chinese social messaging service Momo Inc. has filed for an initial public offering in the U.S.

The company, which is 20% owned by e-commerce giant Alibaba, hopes to raise $300 million. The listing is underwritten by Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Credit Suisse, and China Renaissance.

The service uses proximity data to allow users to interact with others nearby. Widely used for flirting and dating, it was previously labelled a “hotbed of prostitution,” but has since remodelled itself as a more family friendly social networking venue and is also expanding its functionality for businesses.

Under an agreement, advertisements for Alibaba merchants are placed within Momo’s apps and the two companies share revenues.

Momo claims 180 million registered users, 60 million monthly users and 2.3 million paid subscribers. In comparison, Tencent’s WeChat had 438 million monthly active users.

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