Chinese streaming site Douyu planning U.S. IPO

The esports live streaming site Douyu is planning a US initial public offering, with the aim to raise $600m (£457m) to $700m (£533m). The Tencent-backed site was last rumoured to be planning a Hong Kong IPO last month. However, the company has said it “is not aware” of any pending moves.

One of the many live streaming sites in China, a sizeable IPO would split Douyu off from the rest of the pack, namely its competitor Huya, which raised $180m (£137m) in May. Notably, Huya’s share price which opened at $12 (£9) has now tripled and is currently trading at $36 (£27). Chinese gaming giant Tencent has invested in Douyu since March 2016, participating in a $100m (£76.2m) Series B funding round. They have since repeatedly invested, most notably in March of this year, as they led a $630m (£479m) Series E investment.

In a report from Tencent, the Chinese esports market continues to grow. With over 250m esports users in 2017, they account for 64% of the global esports market. With a projected 350m by 2020, sites like Douyu and Huya are in prime position to take advantage of the emerging sector.

The choice to go with New York over Hong Kong would buck the trend that other Chinese tech start-ups have started, with smartphone maker Xiaomi unable to meet its initial expectations after filing for their own IPO a few months ago under the Hong Kong markets. With over $1.1b (£837m) and five rounds of funding according to business information provider Crunchbase, this next move could be the most crucial decision for the streaming company’s future.

Esports Insider Says: If successful, a US IPO would cement Douyu as the site to beat in China. With esports in China continuing to boom in popularity, being the most watched site is the first step in challenging other streaming sites on a global scale.