Business / Staff Gadgets

Tencent 'eyes Singapore' for WeChat spinoff

By Li Tao in Hong Kong (China Daily) Updated: 2013-08-13 07:24

Tencent Holdings Ltd, China's biggest Internet company, is planning a spinoff of its popular messaging and social media app through a separate listing on the Singapore stock exchange.

Tencent has set up an office in Singapore to deal with WeChat's listing, a person close to the matter told China Daily.

The source didn't disclose the name of the new entity.

The popular app, known as Weixin, has more than 400 million users in its domestic market alone, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

WeChat has been an "overnight success" for Pony Ma, chairman and chief executive officer of the Internet conglomerate, who hadn't even "prepared any explicit timetable for the listing or come up with a solid money-making plan for the popular instant messaging tool", the source said.

Tencent initially planned to list WeChat on the Hong Kong stock exchange, like the holding company that completed its initial public offering in June 2004.

The shares of that company closed at HK$367.40 ($47.37) on Monday, making them the most expensive shares in Hong Kong. At the time of the IPO, the shares were priced at HK$3.70.

Tencent abandoned the plan to list WeChat in Hong Kong as an "initial public offering of a spinoff on the same stock exchange with the holding company will raise more issues for Tencent", while a separate listing of WeChat in Singapore is "an apparently easier choice", said the source.

Tencent's heavy investment and recognition in the overseas market, especially in Southeast Asia, will also support its fundraising activities in Singapore.

Earlier this year, Louis Song, a Tencent regional manager for Malaysia and Singapore, said the company had been waging intensive campaigns to expand its presence in those markets.

Tencent President Lau Chi-ping said in July that overseas registered WeChat users had exceeded 70 million, up 75 percent from April.

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