Lizhi, a leading audio content service provider in China, is expected to list and be publicly traded in a stock market in the United States soon, according to sources with the company.
The company filed an IPO application to the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, under the ticker symbol "LIZI", and it is likely to become China's first stock in the audio content business.
By going public, Lizhi is aiming to raise $100 million to support its artificial intelligence research and development along with its overseas market expansion in the near future, according to the company.
Founded in 2013 in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, Lizhi now has more than 46.6 million active monthly audio content users on average, with 5.7 million content creators, the company's IPO information said.
"There is still a potential market expansion in the near future in China, given that the market penetration rate is still low," said Lai Yilong, founder and chief executive officer of Lizhi.
A report by iResearch Consulting Group said China has become the largest global online audio content market, with the number of users reaching 377 million in 2018.
In China, the market penetration rate in the online music, games and video sectors reached 89 percent, 82 percent and 74 percent respectively. The penetration rate, though, of online audio was only 45.5 percent, the report by iResearch said.
"Supported by AI technology, the online audio content market is expected to brace for an expansion in the near future," said Lai, who now holds about 30 percent of Lizhi's shares.
The iResearch report said the number of online audio content users will reach more than 900 million in 2023.
Lai said Lizhi started its overseas expansion and development of the internet of things in early 2019.
The company has so far completed several rounds of fund-raising over the past six years, securing a number of strategic domestic investors to support its market expansion.
Sales revenue of Lizhi reached about 800 million yuan ($113.5 million) in 2018, an increase of 76 percent year-on-year.
In the third quarter of 2019 alone, its sales revenue increased 72 percent year-on-year to 330 million yuan.
The company has identified itself as the country's largest platform in the user-generated content audio service sector.
To increase user interaction, Lizhi recently announced a strategic cooperation deal with the developer of an online game named One Love Forever, allowing users to play games in an immersive way with its advantages in voice and opening it to a wide range of sound entertainment for its users.
Source: China Daily