Popular Chinese dating app eyes US IPO

The maker of Momo, one of the first mobile apps in China that enables people to locate and chat with others nearby, and possibly more infamously linked to its “one-night-stand” trait, is reportedly preparing for an initial public offering in the US this year.

Beijing Momo Technology Co. is now working with banks including Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse Group AG for the IPO in the U.S., which is likely to happen later this year, Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources.

The popular Chinese dating app is infamous for making it easier to help find "one night stands".

Momo was recently valued at around US$2 billion in a private fundraising, according to the WSJ report. One and a half years ago, an earlier fundraising pegged the Momo's market value at around US$500 million, said the report, adding that the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding is also an investor in Momo.

Launched in August 2011, Momo allows members to upload their personal information, including pictures, age, height and weight, into their accounts. As the app locates the positions of all the user members, once an app user refreshes his latest place, he is able to see a list of other users who are wandering around.  

Despite the software claims its key features to assist users making friends and broadening their social networks, it has gained a salacious reputation today, as Chinese people tease it as "a magical tool to get laid".

In February, 2014, the company announced that registered accounts in Momo had exceeded 100 million, with 40 million monthly active users by the time.

In a latest announcement on the company’s Weibo blog, Momo said it has adopted "most stringent" measures to deal with pornographic information in the app. The company has received over 80 million report messages and banned accounts on more than 3 million mobile phone devices, it said.

The WSJ report indicated that the online dating and hookup application "has been pushing to become a platform to help people with shared interests connect in locales across China" over the past year.

The app is also trying to monetize based on its huge users group. One of its mobile games have earned over 1.4 million register members, who now contribute as much as 12 million yuan (US$1.9 million) to the company each month, Momo said in February.