Tencent-Backed Chinese Movie Ticketing App Maoyan Makes Lackluster IPO Debut

Monster Hunt 2 Still - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of Edko Films

Shares of China's top movie ticketing platform opened less than 1 percent higher than its offer price.

Maoyan Entertainment, China's biggest movie ticketing platform backed by internet giant Tencent, dropped 1.08 percent in its debut at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange today. The underperformance followed the trend of weak new stock listings amidst US-China trade tensions.

Maoyan's shares opened at $1.889 (HK$14.82), less than 1 percent higher than its initial public offering (IPO) price of $1.8864 (HK$14.8). The new stock then fell by 5.4 percent to $1.78 (HK$14), and closed at $1.866 (HK$14.64) for the morning session.

Tencent is the second-largest shareholder of Maoyan. For the IPO, Maoyan enlisted Imax China, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi, and Chinese venture capitalist Welight Capital as its cornerstone investors. The app's biggest shareholder is Chinese film studio Beijing Enlight Media, which owns a 48.8 percent stake.

Maoyan's float had a lukewarm reception, with a 1.32 times over-subscription, raising $250 million for the IPO. The amount could rise to $287 million if Maoyan exercise an over-allotment option with the first month of trade. The platform originally looked to raise $500 million to $1 billion in the IPO, according to a Reuters report.

Maoyan had 130 million monthly active users in the first half of 2018, and is used by 95 percent of cinemas in over 600 Chinese cities to sell tickets online during that period. It said it has a 60 percent market share in China, where over 90 percent of movie ticket sales are conducted online, mostly on mobile devices. It merged with ticketing service provider Weiying in 2017, and counts Alibaba's Taopiaopiao, which commands a 30 percent market share in the country, as its biggest rival.

However, despite its market dominance bringing it revenue of 3.1 billion yuan in the first nine months of 2018, it did not translate into a net profit. The app reported losses for the past three years, and saw its loss more than doubled in 2017 to 1.3 billion yuan, up from 508 million yuan in 2016. Its losses for the first nine months of 2018 amounted to 144 million yuan.

China's movie ticketing takings totaled 55.9 billion yuan in 2017, and Maoyan expected the total receipt to grow to 121.7 billion yuan by 2022.

Besides selling movie tickets, Maoyan has also ventured into film investment, backing Paramount's Transformers: The Last Knight and local blockbusters Dying to Survive and Monster Hunt 2.

Maoyan's lackluster debut, made on the last day of the Year of the Dog on the lunar calendar before a three-day holiday, is indicative of the downward pressure the Hong Kong stock market is experiencing, where Hong Kong’s benchmark stock index witnessed a 14 percent decline in 2018.