[HONG KONG] ByteDance, which owns short-form video app TikTok, said on Tuesday it had no immediate plans for an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong, denying a Financial Times report that said it was looking to list as soon as the first quarter of next year.
The Financial Times reported the news earlier in the day citing two people briefed on plans.
"There is absolutely zero truth to the rumours that we plan to list in Hong Kong in Q1," a spokesman for the company told Reuters in an email.
Four sources familiar with the company told Reuters that ByteDance's plans to list publicly were not imminent.
The seven-year-old Chinese startup posted a better-than-expected revenue for the first half of the year at over US$7 billion and was valued at US$78 billion late last year, separate sources have told Reuters.
That makes it one of the world's most valuable unicorns - private firms worth US$1 billion or more. Speculation that it has been considering an IPO has been rife since last year.
ByteDance has been put under the spotlight in recent weeks after US senators raised concerns over its TikTok platform's collection of user data and whether China censors content seen by US users.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose product competes with TikTok particularly for younger users, also attacked the app over censorship concerns.
TikTok says China does not have jurisdiction over the app's content as the app does not operate in China and that it is not influenced by any foreign government, including that of China.