Tencent music arm debuts on NYSE
Tencent Holdings Ltd’s music arm finally pressed the play button, debuting on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, as part of the tech giant’s efforts to diversify its business and seek new growth drivers.
Tencent Music Entertainment Group priced its initial public offering at $13 per American depository receipt, and seeks to raise $1.07 billion in total, the company stated on Wednesday.
The IPO values the music subsidiary at around $21.3 billion, a price rivaling world-leading music streaming company Spotify.
Analysts said the latest IPO is part of the juggernaut’s broader push to expand its operations, as its core social media business is about to peak in terms of growth.
“It is a way for Tencent to diversify and bolster its business, given that the music arm has big advantages in obtaining resources in both content and copyright,” said Li Junhui, senior research fellow at the China University of Political Science and Law.
“Similar to its video services, these advantages in the music segment can help the company to monetize its business quickly,” he added.
With a combined 800 million monthly active users, TME runs four leading mobile music apps in China: QQ Music, Kugou Music, Kuwo Music and mobile karaoke app WeSing.
It reported a 244 percent jump in profit in the first nine months of this year to $394 million, from $114 million in the same period in 2017. That surge was thanks to rising user subscriptions for online music services and purchasing social entertainment services.
Industry insiders noted that this IPO has the same goal as Tencent’s overall investment strategy, which aims to gain revenue through tapping into diverse vertical areas, including social media, e-commerce, entertainment, gaming, as well as New Retail.
“Tencent has paid great attention to different areas in recent years, trying to break its traditional stereotype of only being in social media and gaming. The ultimate goal is to guarantee that its future development can be diversified and sustainable,” said Neil Wang, president of Frost & Sullivan China.
Wang noted that such efforts have paid off, as the company has already reaped the reward from its investments in other companies.
According to preliminary calculations, of the 40 or so Chinese internet companies that went public this year, 16 are Tencentbacked ones. They include smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp, ondemand service provider Meituan-Dianping and videostreaming site iQiyi.
Tencent’s third quarter fiscal report showed that its net income rose 30 percent to 23.3 billion yuan ($3.4 billion) this year, thanks to lower operating expenses and investment gains.
It has generated higher income from investment-related items compared to the same period last year. The value of its equity stakes in listed companies totals 273 billion yuan by September, according to its fiscal report.