Internet start-up VNG filed for an initial public offering in the United States, becoming the first Vietnamese tech company to seek a listing in New York and adding to a diverse list of companies planning listings as the stock market thaws.
VNG plans to issue nearly 22 million shares in the IPO and will set a proposed price range in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission at a later date. VNG will continue to be controlled by its founders Le Hong Minh and Vuong Quang Khai, the company said in a Wednesday filing. VNG will own 49% of the Vietnamese operating company VNG Corp.
VNG Corp., formerly known as Vinagame, started in 2004 as a game publisher. The company develops and publishes its own games as well as local versions of international hits, and has gradually expanded into a wide range of services such as music sharing, video streaming, messaging, news portals and mobile payments. The company has been exploring a U.S. listing since at least 2017.
Its messaging app Zalo overtook Meta Platform Inc.’s Facebook Messenger as the most-used chat platform in Vietnam so far in 2020. Zalo has 75 million monthly active users, according to a statement.
“We were born after the war, in a country that had achieved peace and unity, but was still struggling with underdevelopment and isolation,” VNG’s founders said in a letter to investors included in the prospectus. Little did we know how lucky we were when we landed in Vietnam in the mid-1990s. The world suddenly and magically opened up for us.”
Vietnamese electric car maker Vinfast Auto Ltd. made its U.S. debut this month after completing a merger with blank-check firm Black Spade Acquisition Co. in a deal valued at $23 billion.
VNG’s listing will add momentum to what has been a hit and miss IPO market. Arm Holdings Ltd., a chip designer controlled by SoftBank Group Corp., plans to list in September in what would be the biggest IPO of the year. San Francisco-based grocery delivery company Instacart Inc. is also preparing to file for an IPO, along with marketing and data automation provider Klaviyo and shoemaker Birkenstock, according to Bloomberg.
VNG CEO Minh said in an interview last year that VNG sees gaming as the vanguard of its global expansion plans, while also seeking to increase revenue from artificial intelligence and cloud computing products. Games division VNGGames has at least nine studio games overseas, including Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Taipei and China.
The offering was led by Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, UBS and Bank of America. The company plans to trade its shares on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol VNG.