Could China’s Pornography Crackdown Make Momo IPO a No-No?

May 15, 2014
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Alibaba Group Holdings’ planned multibillion-dollar IPO in the U.S. should be a hot deal, say investors, as long as the price is right. The possible U.S. IPO of a Chinese dating and chat app designer in which Alibaba has invested may also be hot, but in a different way.

Beijing Momo Technology Co., whose Momo app resembles the U.S.’s Tinder in helping users find prospective dates and friends located close to them, is planning a U.S. IPO this year, according to people familiar with the matter. A recent round of private fundraising valued the company at $2 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

The app, launched in 2011, claims nearly 120 million registered users, according to its website.

Could China's Pornography Crackdown Make Momo IPO a No-No?

But an ongoing Chinese government campaign against sexual content online, which has helped slash stock prices for sanctioned Chinese internet firms such as Sina Corp SINA -0.52%, means Momo’s IPO would face headwinds.

In fact, Momo has already been targeted by at least one state media outlet. An investigative report by state news service Xinhua last month accused Momo of hosting sex workers.

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