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Shares of China-based music streaming company Tencent Music Entertainment rose about 11 per cent in their U.S. debut on Wednesday, as investors shrugged off volatile markets to grab a piece of the fast-growing music streaming industry.

The company’s shares opened at US$14.10, 8.5 per cent above their initial public offering price of US$13 per ADRs, giving it a market capitalization of about US$23-billion – at par with Swedish peer Spotify Technology’s current valuation. Spotify is an investor in the Chinese company.

The IPO raised US$1.1-billion in proceeds and is one of the largest by a Chinese company in the United States this year, behind the US$2.4-billion raised by video streaming company iQiyi , the US$1.6-billion garnered by online group discounter Pinduoduo and the US$1.15-billion by electric vehicle maker NIO Inc.

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The debut marks an end to a tumultuous listing journey that saw the company delay its IPO plans until November in a market weakened by trade tensions between the United States and China.

It finally launched its hotly anticipated IPO a day after U.S. and Chinese leaders brokered a 90-day truce in their trade conflict last week.

Buoyed by renewed talks between Washington and Beijing, ride-hailing rivals Uber and Lyft have also charged ahead with their IPO filings, aimed at a 2019 listing.

Over all, the U.S. IPO market this year is seeing its best year since 2014 with 208 IPOs raising US$52.7-billion year-to-date even as market volatility and a broader market sell-off has led to a slowdown in the current quarter, according to data from audit and accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“Strong companies often choose to go public despite difficult market conditions and historically that has been a rewarding opportunity for investors,” said David Ethridge, US IPO Services Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Tencent Music, which claims more than 800 million monthly active users, offers online music, online karaoke and music-centric live streaming services and claims to have a music content library with more than 20 million tracks as of September 30, 2018.

Its profit more than tripled to US$394-million for the first nine months of the year. By comparison, Spotify posted a net loss of US$520-million over the first nine months of the year.

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Tencent’s strong financials are due to a business model that does not rely primarily on the monthly subscription payments that sustain Spotify and other Western music streaming companies.

Online music services, which is said to “primarily” consist of music subscriptions, digital downloads, ad-supported music services and the sub-licensing of music to other content providers, contributed about 30 per cent to its total revenue in the first nine months of the year.

Music-centric social entertainment services, which include virtual gifts and premium memberships, accounted for more than 70 per cent of the US$1.65-billion in revenue it made in 2017, the company said in a filing.

Reuters

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