On September 22, a document from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx) showed that Flowing Cloud, a Chinese tech firm, passed the listing hearing and it will start trading on the main board of the exchange at the end of this month. The firm thus may become “the first Metaverse-related stock listed in Hong Kong.”
Founded in 2008, the firm switched its focus from the game business to AR/VR content and services in April 2017, completing the transformation in May 2019. Now its business mainly covers AR/VR marketing services, AR/VR content and AR/VR SaaS (software as a service).
In view of the fact that AR/VR content and services belong to the Metaverse ecosystem, the firm has started to build its own Metaverse platform, called Flowing Cloud Metaverse, and will release it in the future. There is a virtual commercial market that allows users to move freely and become merchants, providing access to Metaverse for enterprises and individual users. The platform will connect them together.
The firm also provides AR/VR SaaS services. Recently, it announced a strategic cooperation agreement with the short video sharing app Kuaishou. The contents of the deal include providing convenient editing tools for Kuaishou content creators based on a SaaS platform, which is widely applicable to panoramic pictures and other immersive videos. Creators can make 3D models, add special effects and use other interactive functions.
Flowing Cloud currently maintains relatively considerable revenue growth and profitability. According to its prospectus, the revenues of Feitian Yundong were 251 million yuan ($35.5 million) in 2019, 339 million yuan in 2020 and 595 million yuan in 2021. During the period, the net profit was 42 million yuan, 60 million yuan and 72 million yuan respectively. In the first quarter of 2022, its revenue increased by 64.75% from 139 million yuan in the same period of 2021 to 229 million yuan; The net profit increased by 315.78% from about 9.19 million yuan in the same period of 2021 to 38.21 million yuan.
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The net proceeds from this IPO will be mainly for enhancing R&D capabilities and improving technical infrastructure. The firm will enhance its sales and marketing functions, promote potential mergers, acquisitions and strategic investments, and develop the above-mentioned Metaverse platform. Furthermore, the funds will be added to working capital and general corporate purposes.
Investment and financing in the field of Metaverse are in full swing. According to the Investment and Financing Data Report of Metaverse released by Chinese market research firm 100EC in July this year, the financing amount of the Metaverse in China has reached 5.46 billion yuan. In China, there are 160,000 digital human business enterprises and more than 20 provincial governments involved in building up the Metaverse. Dora Liu, Deputy CEO and Chief Quality and Transformation Officer at Deloitte China, pointed out that in 2030, China’s Metaverse market will reach 40 trillion yuan, which will count 20% of the country’s GDP, and electronic products and wearable devices in Metaverse will be worth $100 billion.
Domestic leading enterprises are also speeding up the layout of Metaverse. In June this year, Tencent was reported to have set up an “XR-ExtendedReality” department, which is tasked with building an extended reality business including software and hardware for Tencent and will become part of the company’s Interactive Entertainment Group (IEG). In addition, in September 2021, Alibaba launched AYAYI, a digital manager, and in March 2022, it led the investment in Nreal, a Chinese mixed reality (MR) technology startup. BaiduByteDance and NetEase have also invested in this field.