TikTok owner ByteDance has finally responded officially after rumors continued to circulate about its plans to go public.
The Beijing-based company said Friday in a brief note that can be translated as follows:
There has been a lot of news about ByteDance going public recently, and we would like to state that after careful study, we believe the company is not in a position to go public at this time and have no plans to do so.
This is the first time ByteDance has officially responded to the rumors about its plans to go public.
It has been reported since July 2019 that ByteDance is expected to go public in 2019 or 2020, and the company was already valued at nearly $75 billion at that time.
On March 31, 2021, Reuters cited two people familiar with the matter as saying that ByteDance is considering listing Douyin in New York or Hong Kong.
The news was not unfounded, as on March 24, Chew Shou Zi, the former Xiaomi CFO who helped take the smartphone giant public, announced that he was leaving Xiaomi and joining ByteDance as CFO.
This was seen as ByteDance preparing for an IPO, perhaps signaling an acceleration of ByteDance's IPO process.
On April 14, China Securities Journal reported that ByteDance submitted an underwriter engagement letter to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, initiating the process of listing in Hong Kong at a valuation of about $400 billion.
In the second half of 2020, there was news that ByteDance was accelerating its preparations for an IPO.
At the time, it was reported that ByteDance was in discussions with investors, including Sequoia Capital, to push Douyin and news aggregation app Toutiao to list in Hong Kong.
At the time, ByteDance said it was considering plans to list some of its businesses, but had not yet finalized them.
In November 2020, media reports said ByteDance explored plans to list certain of its businesses, including Douyin, in Hong Kong.
By 2021, The Information, citing sources familiar with the matter, said ByteDance had informed some investors that an IPO could take place as early as this year.
On March 18, 2021, the former CEO of ByteDance's TikTok said in a media interview that ByteDance could go public in multiple places at the same time.