Huazhu Ends 2021 with Omicron Hit, Seen Lingering Into 2022

The hotel operator is facing headwinds from the latest Covid-19 flare-up, whose impact is likely to affect its first quarter results Key takeaways: Huazhu Group is predicting greater uncertainties for its hotels in the first quarter as a result of the recent Covid resurgence and resulting travel restrictions The company has pivoted to focus on quality over quantity growth, in an unexpected shift for some analysts By Lau Ming With recent Covid-19 fare-ups sweeping China and the new omicron variant spreading fast, local governments throughout the country have been tightening…

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Pop Mart Takes Its Trendy Toy Story on Global Roadshow

The maker of popular collectible toys sold from ‘blind boxes’ has moved into Europe with the opening of a store in London Key takeaways: Pop Mart has moved into Europe with a London store, expanding its global footprint to 23 countries since opening its first international store a year ago Company is hoping to copy its successful domestic model of selling trendy toys over low-cost channels such as online and vending machines, helped by social media promotion By Doug Young Watch out, world. First China’s ByteDance gave us TikTok, the…

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Animoca Mines NFTs, Metaverse to Boost Valuation to $5.4 Billion. Next Stop, New York?

Digital property manager raises $360 million in its latest funding round, more than doubling its value from previous round in October Key Takeaways: Animoca Brands has raised $360 million in a new funding round that values the company at $5.4 billion Company was booted from Australia’s main stock exchange in 2020 for noncompliance, but could seek a new listing as soon as this year, most likely in New York By Doug Young Move over, bitcoin miners. A Hong Kong company called Animoca Brands Corp. Ltd. has become the latest hot…

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With Competition High and Market Share Low, Is Nicefilm Really Nice?

The producer of popular web drama series and movies hopes its recent hits will create an audience for its Hong Kong IPO Key takeaways: Nicefilm Entertainment has filed for a Hong Kong listing even as its revenue growth is slowing sharply The company relies heavily on five major video platforms, which supply 95.7% of its revenue By Fai Pui Remember the love-hate relationship between the main characters in the hit online drama “Plot Love”? Or perhaps “The Flaming Heart,” a similar drama broadcast on online video giant Youku, was more…

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Zhihu’s Regulatory Call-Out: Dressing Down or Big Trouble?

Beijing municipal Cybersecurity Administration summons officials from the website, sometimes called the ‘Quora of China,’ for hosting ‘illegal’ content Key takeaways: Officials from the Quora-like Zhihu were summoned to a meeting with internet regulators for hosting ‘illegal’ content on the company’s site Infraction appears to be relatively minor, despite selloff that saw company’s shares initially tumble as much as 16% the day of the announcement By Doug Young Today we depart from our usual review of official announcements to look at something that most companies would probably prefer not to…

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Facing Strict Regulation and Falling Profits, Is Qingci’s IPO Untimely?

The mobile game company currently relies on just two titles, notably ‘The Marvelous Snail’ for most of its revenue, leading to volatile finances Key Takeaways: Qingci Games has priced its Hong Kong IPO at the bottom of its range, raising $122 million Company’s valuation looks relatively pricey when compared with peers By Jony Ho Hong Kong is welcoming its first mobile game listing of the year with Qingci Games Inc. (6633.HK), as 2021 looks set to go down as a year of tightening internet regulation in China, including growing oversight…

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Qutoutiao’s Reverse Share Split Spooks Wall Street

News aggregator’s stock falls 35% in three days after it announces 10-for-1 reverse share split to return its price back above the required $1 threshold Key takeaways: Money-losing Qutoutiao has announced a reverse 10-for-1 share split to bring its stock back above the $1 level required by the Nasdaq Move sparked a major selloff of its shares as investors worried about a big loan coming due next April By Doug Young Throwing in the towel? It’s probably too early to say that just yet about China’s rapidly fading No. 2…

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Dating App Hello Group Gets Spurned by Investors as Rivals Swarm

Company’s strategic shift to customer retention from monetization knocks quarterly revenues lower as competition intensifies Key takeaways: Shares in Hello Group sank to a five-year low after release of its third-quarter earnings that showed paying users fell, hurting revenues Operator of popular dating apps Momo and Tantan has struggled to find its footing despite a rebranding strategy, as it faces stiff competition and regulation worries By Mia Shanley Hello Group (MOMO.US) was all the rage a decade ago when it launched its hugely popular Momo dating app, sometimes called the…

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Zhihu Reaps Rewards from Commercializing Its Services

Commercial content solutions revenue for the company sometimes called the ‘Quora of China’ rose fivefold in the third quarter, becoming its strongest growth engine Key Takeaways: Zhihu’s revenue doubled in the third quarter on strong performance of its ‘three revenue engines’ Management is targeting fourth-quarter revenue of a record 1.03 billion yuan, up more than 20% from previous quarter By Wut Yee Zhihu Inc. (ZH.US), an information platform sometimes called the “Quora of China,” is challenging market doubters about its ability to commercialize its business, with its latest quarterly results.…

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Travel Restrictions Trip Up Tongcheng-Elong

Covid-19 flare-ups dampened tourism in the third quarter, leading to a 9.3% drop in the online travel agent’s latest quarterly revenue Key Takeaways: Following a weak third quarter, similar travel declines during China’s Oct. 1 ‘Golden Week’ make it difficult to be optimistic about Tongcheng-Elong’s fourth quarter Despite suffering from travel restrictions, Tongcheng-Elong’s position standing on shoulders of giants Tencent and Trip.com should help it over the longer term By Jony Ho Online travel agent Tongcheng-Elong Holdings Ltd.’s (0780.HK) third-quarter results announced this week were bumpy at best, hobbled by slumping tourism as…

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