It is said that it takes a mother nine months to have a baby and at least 20 years to receive any returns from her labor. Tencent Holdings has a much faster way to benefit from its incubated companies: through separate listings.
The latest spinoff to be reported is LY.com, a travel portal based in mainland China that plans to raise US$600 million in Hong Kong.
Founded in 2004, the portal now operates in 200 Chinese cities, and it received a 2 billion yuan (US$316.5 million) investment from Tencent and Ctrip.com in 2014, and then another round of investments totaling 6 billion yuan from Tencent, Wanda and Citic Capital.
Now the crunch time comes, because LY.com has appointed Morgan Stanley and China Merchants Securities as sponsors for a Hong Kong listing.
Last year, Tencent drove the Hong Kong market into a frenzy by listing such ventures as China Literature and Yixin, along with ZhongAn Insurance, jointly owned by Tencent, Alibaba Group and Ping An Insurance.
The price of China Literature shares doubled on their debut; they gradually softened but are still up 38%. Ditto for ZhongAn Insurance, whose shares were up over 63% before retreating to a present gain of around 10%. Yixin debuted with a 32% gain but is now down 23%.
The next one to watch will be Tencent Music, which is expected to raise US$1 billion this year in the United States.
The music-streaming company of which Tencent owns 62% made 1.6 billion yuan last year, according to Chinese press reports, but is targeted to make 3.1 billion in 2018.
Tencent is not stopping there. The online medical company WeDoctor is expected to raise US$500 million this month for the pre-IPO financing ahead of its Hong Kong listing, which will put the value of the company between US$5 billion and $6 billion.
And all eyes are on Meituan-Dianping. Tencent has a minority stake in this online platform for ordering food and booking movies and restaurants, which has a valuation close to US$30 billion.
Tencent plans to list Meituan-Dianping in Hong Kong in the first half in an apparent rush to cash out ahead of the end of a bull rally.