China’s top movie-ticketing platform becomes latest IPO flop in Hong Kong

Posted at 10:58 PM, Feb 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-04 01:07:12-05

China’s biggest online movie-ticketing platform flopped in its stock market debut in Hong Kong, becoming the latest disappointing tech listing in the city.

Shares in Maoyan Entertainment, which is backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent, fell as much as 5.4% in early trading Monday. The stock closed down 1%.

Maoyan had already priced its shares at the bottom of its targeted range for the IPO, raising about $250 million. That’s far short of the $1 billion it had reportedly been seeking to raise.

A series of high-profile Chinese tech companies have listed in Hong Kong in the past year only to see their shares tank, raising concerns for similar firms that are mulling a listing in the city.

Smartphone maker Xiaomi has plunged nearly 40% from its $4.7 billion IPO in July, and online services company Meituan has dived 21% since its $4.2 billion listing in September. They went public during a volatile period for stocks in Hong Kong, which entered a bear market in early September.

Investors’ worries include the trade war between the United States and China, the slowing Chinese economy, stricter regulation of tech companies by Beijing, and doubts about how much Chinese tech companies are really worth.

Maoyan dominates online movie ticket sales in China, accounting for about 60% of the market, according to data from Chinese analytics company iResearch cited in the company’s IPO prospectus. It was originally part of Meituan but was spun off as a separate company in 2016.

Like many tech companies that go public, Maoyan is not yet profitable. It reported an operating loss of 142 million yuan ($21 million) for the nine months ended in September.

China is the world’s second-largest movie market, with box office revenue growing 9% in 2018 to 60.98 billion renminbi ($9 billion), according to state media.

China is widely expected to overtake the United States in movie ticket sales in the coming years.