Zhaopin, China’s biggest job recruitment site, has filed for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange under ticker symbol ZPN. It plans to raise up to $100 million.
Companies that stand to benefit from the IPO include Seek International, Australia’s largest online job site, which owns a 79% stake in Zhaopin, and Cavalane Holdings, which holds 19.3%.
Zhaopin was founded in 1994 and had 74 million registered users as of 2013 and about 10.5 million job postings from 250,000 unique customers in the fiscal year ending June 2013, when it recorded $147 million of revenue. Most of that amount, or 84.3%, came from its online recruitment business.
Its filing is one of several Chinese tech companies that will or are expected to hold U.S. IPOs this year. The most notable is Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce firm, which is expected to hold its IPO soon. Its public offering may value Alibaba at more than $100 billion.
Microblogging platform Sina Weibo also recently held its IPO (though its value fell after censorship by the Chinese government) and Alibaba rival JD.com is reportedly planning a U.S. offering for later this year.
The high profile of these companies mark a turnaround in investor sentiment toward Chinese stocks listed in the U.S. since 2012, when share prices fell after several firms pulled out of the U.S. stock market in response to accusations of improper accounting by regulators.
As Re/code’s Kara Swisher noted in an article about Alibaba’s imminent IPO, investor interest in Chinese tech stocks also runs counter to their U.S. counterparts, including Box, which recently delayed its own IPO.
Zhaopin is raising funds as its competition increases in China. According to TechNode (TechCrunch’s partner site in China), the top three job listing and recruitment sites in the country are Zhaopin, 51job, and ChinaHR.
For example, LinkedIn entered the Chinese market in February. Though China is a notoriously difficult market to tap for foreign tech companies, LinkedIn already had four million registered Chinese users from 80,000 different companies on an English-language site that had been accessible in the country for 10 years before its official launch.
As part of its official launch, LinkedIn told TechCrunch’s Ingrid Lunden that the company had formed a joint venture with Sequoia China and CBC to expand its business in the country and develop localized services. For the company, China presents a potential market of 140 million professionals, or about one in five of all knowledge workers globally, according to LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner.
Zhaopin also has to contend with several domestic challengers that have attracted investor attention by focusing on specific markets. These include Liepin, an executive recruiting platform that landed a $70 million Series C round in April; Neitui, an IT job site; and RenRen Headhunting, a crowdsourcing recruiting app.