Ant Group-backed Hello Inc files for US IPO
Published 17 March 2021
Hello Inc, backed by Alibaba’s Ant Group, is eyeing to be the first U.S.-listed Chinese bike-rental company, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
The filing for the initial public offering is confidential, amidst the surging global investors’ interests in technology firms and the increasing scrutiny by Chinese regulators over the so-called sharing economy.
Insiders revealed to IFR, cited by Bloomberg, that the Shanghai-based company is looking for as much as $1 billion through the listing, though the size and valuation are still unsettled. The follow-up activities of Hello include working with China International Capital Corp., Credit Suisse Group AG and Morgan Stanley for the listing and gauging investor demand, Bloomberg said.
Founded in 2016 and previously valued at $5 billion, according to CB Insights, the unicorn has received funding from Primavera Capital Group, Fosun International Ltd. and GGV Capital. With services covering more than 400 cities across China and clocking more than 400 million registers, the company is amongst China’s largest bike-rental firms which survived the bike-sharing bubble in 2018.
The bubble burst has consolidated the market into several big players, including Ant Group-backed Hello, Didi’s Qingju, and Meituan Bike, which also have struggled to turn into profitable businesses.
During the grappling with the oversupply of bike-sharing in early years, Hello pivoted its model into a one-stop transportation solution provider, with diverse offerings from smart locks to artificial intelligence-enabled traffic planning and car-pooling. The filing for an IPO of Hello has signaled a sustainable outlook of the bike-rental industry for years to come.
Most recently, Hello has extended its business to electric bicycles, seizing the opportunity to grab a growing segment of the market. There were over 6 million shared e-bikes across China as of November. The global e-Bike market is estimated to be worth $70 billion by 2027, according to reports.