Lizhi, one of the largest audio content apps in China, makes its debut today on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol LIZI. It is the first of its main competitors, Ximalaya and Dragonfly, to go public (although Ximalaya is expected to be listed in the US later this year). Lizhi offers 4.1 million shares at an IPO price of $ 11 per share.
Although Lizhi, Ximalaya and Dragonfly each host podcasts, audiobooks, and livestreams, Lizhi, whose investors include Xiaomi, TPG, Matrix Partners China, and Morningside Venture Capital and Orchid Asia, has focused on user-generated content, that were created with the app’s recording tools.
According to market research firm iResearch, the company has the largest community of user-generated audio content in China. The company announced that it had a base of 46.6 million average monthly active mobile users and 5.7 million average monthly active content creators in the third quarter of 201
In an interview with TechCrunch, Lizhi CEO Marco Lai said the company plans to use the IPO proceeds to invest in product development and AI technology. Lizhi uses AI technology to distribute podcasts, which is a 31% click rate on content. AI is also used to monitor content, provide instant user engagement data to creators, and provide features to optimize recordings, reduce noise, and create 3D audio in the emerging segment. Around 45.5% of total mobile Internet users in China heard online audio in 2018. However, acceptance is likely to increase as IoT devices such as smart speakers are becoming increasingly popular, especially in smaller cities. According to Lai, Lizhi is partnering with Baidu for its Xiaodu smart speakers and developing new ways to distribute content for IoT devices.