Popular live streaming platform Inke (映客) has submitted its first edition of an IPO prospectus to the Hong Kong stock exchange. The company didn’t indicate how much funds it plans to raise.
Inke is one of more than 300 live streaming companies that have mushroomed during China’s live streaming boom. Many of them have by now closed shop but Inke has managed to not only thrive but monetize thanks to support from investors and promotional activities.
However, according to the documents submitted, the platform’s user numbers have dropped drastically, TechNode’s Chinese sister site reports. In the third quarter of 2016, Inke reported 2.56 million subscribers. In 2017, that number dropped to 650,000. The good news is that the platform has been making more money from its users. In Q3 of 2016, Inke made RMB 186 million from its users, while in Q4 of 2017 that number jumped to RMB 673 million. The average monthly subscriber spends RMB 673 on Inke’s platform.
Much like other live streaming platforms, Inke enables viewers to send virtual gifts to hosts through in-app purchases. Hosts can also “enhance the viewing experience” by adding interactive stickers. Inke gained popularity by broadcasting live shows of a popular South Korean band called Big Bang and signing deals with actresses Liu Tao and Jiang Xin. The app made it to the seventh spot on App Annie’s worldwide revenue rankings of iOS and Android apps in April 2016.
Last year the company made RMB 3.94 billion which is less than the RMB 4.33 billion of earnings reported in 2016. Inke reported adjusted net profits of RMB 1.46 million in 2015, their first year of operation, RMB 568 million in 2016, and it concluded 2017 with RMB 791 million in profits.
In September last year, Inke attempted to complete a controversial merger with Shunya International, an A-share listed communications agency. Shunya International Brand Consulting (宣亚国际) announced the completion of the purchase of a 48.2% stake in Inke. The company planned to buy a stake in cash. According to the details of the disclosure, the cash was mainly to come from a loan made by Shunya International’s shareholders. However, it was discovered that 70% of the loan came from Inke’s founding team so the operation was interpreted as a backdoor listing and forced to stop.