Tencent-backed plastic surgery app So-Young files for $150 million US IPO

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Tencent-backed plastic surgery app So-Young on Monday filed for a Nasdaq listing. The company expects to raise up to $150 million, according to its prospectus. No pricing terms were disclosed.

So-Young, founded in 2013, is a platform allowing prospective patients to discover and evaluate plastic surgery services for treatment offline. The company’s namesake app So-Young offers a wide range of facilities including professional beauty content, community management, and e-commerce services to users.

The company’s revenue surged 138% year-on-year to more than RMB 617 million (around $90 million) with a net income of RMB 55 million in 2018. Information service fees and reservation service fees charged to medical aesthetic service providers for the likes of plastic surgery and beauty services are the main sources of the company’s revenue.

China’s medical aesthetic service industry, a fusion of healthcare and beauty services, is growing rapidly and has gained traction among the country’s younger generations.

China is now the second largest market for medical aesthetic services after the US. In 2018, the market reached almost RMB 122 billion, representing a compound annual growth rate of over 23% from 2014, according to data from research institute Frost & Sullivan. The total revenue of the industry in China is expected to reach RMB360 billion by 2023, the institute noted.

The growing market has given rise to an increasing number of cosmetic surgery hospitals, along with platforms to promote them. So-Young has received a combined $230 million in funding, according to CrunchBase. The company competes with well-funded rival  Gengmei.

Distribution of professional content through social media and the adoption of innovative new technologies are at the core of the company’s strategies. So-Young claims to account for 84% of the time daily users spent using online medical aesthetic service mobile apps in 2018. In terms of technology application, the company uses artificial intelligence in analyzing facial features for evaluating virtual medical aesthetic needs and predicting treatment effects online.