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ByteDance Eyes H.K. IPO Amid China Tech Crackdown, FT Says

TikTok owner ByteDance Ltd. is reviving plans to list in Hong Kong by early next year even as Chinese authorities widen their crackdown on the country’s technology companies, the Financial Times reported.

The listing could take place either next quarter or in early 2022, the paper said in a report on Sunday, citing three unidentified people with knowledge of the plans.

ByteDance has been working on addressing data security concerns raised by Chinese regulators, the FT reported. It’s going through a review process and has submitted filings to Chinese authorities, and final guidance is expected from ByteDance by September, one of the people was cited as saying. In July, Dow Jones reported that ByteDance put on hold indefinitely its intentions to list offshore earlier this year, after government officials told it to focus on addressing data-security risks.

When reached by Bloomberg News, a ByteDance spokesperson said the FT report is inaccurate, without elaborating.

The report comes at a tense time for Chinese technology firms. Last month, President Xi Jinping launched sweeping regulatory reforms targeting the $100 billion education tech sector, prompting a selloff that at one point erased $1.5 trillion from Chinese stocks.

That increased official oversight of one corner of China’s vast tech sector came after Beijing proposed new rules requiring a cybersecurity review for nearly all companies looking to list abroad. Since July, the Chinese government has effectively frozen overseas listings to safeguard data security in the wake of ride-hailing company Didi Global Inc..’s controversial $4.4 billion IPO.

The rising scrutiny of Chinese technology firms has led to anxiety on what could be next on Xi’s list. Last week, Tencebt Holdings Ltd., China’s most valuable corporation, led a stocks rout after Chinese state media decried the “spiritual optima” of online games.

Source: Bloomberg