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ByteDance Explores IPO For Douyin, China’s Version Of TikTok

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Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, could hit the markets as a publicly-traded company under plans being pursued by its parent company, ByteDance, new reports find.

Beijing-based ByteDance is having both internal deliberations and discussions with investment bankers about taking the short-video app public, Reuters reported, citing two sources.

ByteDance has recently met with multiple investment banks, with one source characterizing the talks as preliminary.

Douyin claims to have 600 million users in China.

A spokeswoman for ByteDance declined to comment, Reuters reported.

The news comes several months after a previous Reuters story noted that ByteDance had looked at listing its China businesses, including Douyin, on Hong Kong’s stock exchange or on Shanghai’s STAR Market.

ByteDance is exploring its options as it faces pressure from the U.S. government to sell off TikTok, the version of the short-video app that is available outside of China.

The Trump administration has cited security concerns for its push to get ByteDance to sell off TikTok, including potential access by Chinese authorities to the personal data of more than 100 million Americans, but efforts to force a deal have so far been unsuccessful.

Microsoft emerged as a potential suitor early on, only to have that deal fall apart. More recently, Oracle and Walmart have emerged as potential white knights, but the terms of that deal appear to still be fluid and far from ironed out.

There is likely no resolution to legal, regulatory and business stalemates over TikTok’s future until the resolution of the U.S. presidential election, experts say.

A federal court order in Washington in September put on hold a move by the U.S. Commerce Department that would have forced stores to remove TikTok and prevent new downloads of the app.

As ByteDance discusses an initial public offering, the deal may include not just Douyin, but also other parts of the company’s business empire in China, one source told CNBC.

That empire includes news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, work collaboration tool Feishu, and video-streaming app Xigua, according to Reuters.

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