Huya Debut: Chinese Livestreaming Platform Raises $180 Million in New York IPO

One of China's largest live streaming gaming platforms, a spin-off of YY Inc., could raise as much as $180 million at the upper end of its range at its initial public offering Friday.

Author: Selina Cheng   

Huya Inc., one of the largest game livestreaming platforms in China, debuted Friday on the New York Stock Exchange selling 15 million shares at $12 per American depositary share.

The price was the high end of the estimated range and raised Huya $180 million in its initial public offering (IPO). If the underwriters proceed with over-allotment, Huya could raise up to $207 million. Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC, and UBS Investment Bank acted as underwriters on the deal.

The planned IPO, which had been expected, partially spun off one of the major holdings of another popular Chinese livestreaming platform, YY Inc. (Nasdaq: YY), which owns 56 percent of Huya's shares, representing 55 percent voting control of the company, according to a recent filing. 

Following the offering, Tencent Holdings Ltd., China's media giant, has become Huya's second largest shareholder with 41 percent of the shares and a voting stake of nearly 40 percent. 

Launched in 2014, Huya grew rapidly over the past four years. Similar to the livestreaming unit of Amazon called Twitch, Huya's users interact with one another through the platform via bullet chatting, real-time commenting, and gifting, interactions that may help increase user "stickiness," or time spent on platform.

Huya has claimed to be the pioneer and market leader in China's rapidly growing game livestreaming market. However, competition has been fierce, mainly against Huya's biggest rival, Douyu. Two months ago, Huya announced it has raised $461.6 million in its series B funding round led by Tencent. On the same day, however, Douyu also announced that it has received Tencent backing, a $632 million investment. Following Huya's IPO announcement, Douyu's COO Chao Cheng told local media that his firm was likewise preparing to commence trading publicly.

In a seperate filing on Thursday, the Guangzhou-based company reported revenue of $134.5 million for the first quarter, compared with $63.6 million from a year earlier. In the first three months of 2018, Huya's livestreaming revenue more than doubled, thanks to the increase in the number of paying users on Huya's platform and increase in the spending per paying user. Moreover, advertising and other revenues more than tripled in the first quarter. 

Huya said net income in the first quarter was $5 million, compared with a net loss of $6 million for the same period last year. 

By December, the company said it had over 38.8 million mobile monthly average users (MAUs), an increase of nearly 48 percent from 2016. Its platform offered 2,600 games by the end of last year, including games for mobile, PC, and console.

Huya's growth comes as internet gaming among young people in China has soared in popularity. Citing a study from Frost & Sullivan, the company said China had 646 million gamers last year, a number expected to grow to 917 million by 2022. Overall, revenue in the game livestreaming market is expected to hit $4.9 billion in 2022, up from $1.2 billion last year. 


Source: Frost & Sullivan Report

In its regulatory filing, Huya said it had recently signed a four-year non-compete agreement with YY and a three-year renewable strategic cooperation deal with Tencent.

The company has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "HUYA."