Gay software BlueCity rings NASDAQ bell to celebrate IPO

By Zhang Hongpei Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/8 23:28:40

BlueCity launches it IPO on the NASDAQ on Wednesday. Photo: Courtesy of BlueCity

Ma Baoli (left) founder, chairman and CEO of BlueCity is at a press conference prior to the IPO ceremony on Wednesday. Photo: Zhang Hongpei/GT

BlueCity Holdings, owner of China's biggest dating app for gay men, rang the NASDAQ Stock Market opening bell in celebration of its IPO, becoming the latest Chinese social media firm to tap the international capital markets.

BlueCity priced its US IPO at $16 per American depositary share (ADS) to raise as much as $84.8 million. Shares in BlueCity began trading on the NASDAQ on Wednesday, under the symbol "BLCT." 

BlueCity's shares skyrocketed as much as 124 percent on their debut, pushing the market cap to near $880 million.

Founded in 2011, the software Blued is the largest gay social network app in the world with 49 million registered users in up to 210 countries and regions. It has 6 million monthly active users, 49 percent of whom are from outside China. 

"Revenues from overseas users are growing steadily year-on-year," Ma Baoli, founder, chairman and CEO of BlueCity, told a press conference prior to the IPO ceremony. The company reported revenues of 759 million yuan in 2019, an increase of 51.4 percent on a yearly basis, according to its prospectus. 

"Due to external factors, ranging from the COVID-19, China-US tensions as well as the scandal of Chinese coffee start-up Luckin Coffee, perhaps it wasn't ideal for us to list at the moment, but we are betting on a long-term development strategy," Ma said. 

He believes that listing in the US could help improve the firm's governance and business efficiency.

The global LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) population was approximately 450 million in 2018 and is expected to grow to 591 million by 2023, representing 7.4 percent of the world's total population, compared to 5.9 percent of the total population in 2018, according to a report from market consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.

"Software serving the community has grown rapidly, its monetization channels and business models have gradually developed on a large scale, and investors have realized the huge opportunities behind its market," Neil Wang, president of Frost & Sullivan in China, told the Global Times.

The fresh IPO move came after the ripple effect that Luckin caused on Chinese firms listed in the US over sales fraud. 

Caught in the crossfire of political tensions between Beijing and Washington, more Chinese firms are considering moving their listings to home markets amid the rising protectionism in the US.

"It is not an easy thing for Chinese firms to float in New York at the moment. Its choice is not just for financing, but also building up a good image among international investors and users," Sun Lijian, director of the Financial Research Center at Fudan University, told the Global Times Wednesday.

Both the A-share market and Hong Kong market are now ramping up efforts to attract more companies as an alternative listing destination outside the US, Sun noted.

Posted in: COMPANIES

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