Tencent-backed podcasting giant Ximalaya drops plans for US IPO after Chinese regulators pressured it to list in Hong Kong

Great Hall of the People, Beijing, China. Du Yang/China News Service via Getty Images
China's largest podcasting platform, Ximalaya, announced Thursday that it had abandoned US IPO plans.

After Ximalaya filed in April for a New York IPO, regulators began to push the company to move its listing to Hong Kong.

Ximalaya's troves and slew of user data may have alarmed regulators.

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According to Reuters, China's largest podcasting platform Ximalaya announced Thursday that it had abandoned plans to go public in America after regulatory pressure.

Ximalaya filed for a New York IPO in April. It boasted 250 million monthly listeners in its first quarter 2021, and more than 160,000 podcasters in 2020 according to its SEC filing.

According to a Reuters report, Ximalaya began to be urged by regulators to move its listing to Hong Kong.

Reuters reports that Ximalaya, which has the backing of Tencent, Baidu and Sony, may have concerned regulators due to its troves user data. China's cyber regulator took similar concerns to China and removed Didi from the app stores, sending Didi's stock plummeting within days of its highly-anticipated IPO.

According to Quartz, regulatory pressure has been mounting on industries ranging from tech to tutoring in recent months. However, China's crackdown against podcasting started in 2019 when the cyber regulator ban 26 Chinese podcasting apps and other audio apps. It claimed that these apps were prone to alleged social disorders like porn, anime, and gaming culture.

A rival podcasting platform, Lizhi debuted on Nasdaq's stock exchange in 2020. Despite the large drop in Chinese shares, the stock has seen a 66% decline since its IPO.

As uncertainty continues to be high, other Chinese companies have begun looking at Hong Kong for IPOs.