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Chinese Social Media Powerhouse Momo Inc. (NASDAQ: MOMO) Renews its Drive Amid Pandemic-era Adversity

  • Chinese mobile-based social and entertainment platform operator Momo is regrouping and revisiting its successes after suffering a pair of adverse conditions resulting from government concerns and pandemic problems
  • Momo has developed a prominent reputation as “China’s Tinder” through its Tantan dating service platform and its Momo streaming video app
  • The company saw some of its top leadership positions change last year in response to declines in revenue and stock value
  • The company has generated some encouraging reports since the start of the year with a brief surge in stock value and forecasts that anticipate it will “retain growth momentum on both VAS and live broadcasting”

Chinese social media wonder Momo (NASDAQ: MOMO) is responding to a test of its mettle in the wake of adverse economic factors brought on by a brief battle with the country’s content regulators followed by the rise of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Momo owns the Tantan dating service known as “China’s Tinder” as well as its own-brand Momo live video streaming platform, two of the top dating and social interaction apps in China. Popular features include virtual gift-giving and blind date matching with other active users whose photo profile is blurred until after at least 20 messages have been exchanged.

But the company saw significant declines in revenue and stock value during 2020 after the pandemic’s virus gained worldwide attention when it reportedly originated in a Chinese province and businesses there ground to standstill amid national efforts to stop the virus’ spread.

Far from down for the count, Momo’s monthly active users (“MAUs”) numbered 113.6 million and net revenues stood at US$554.8 million as of last year’s third quarter financial report, the most recent for the company (https://nnw.fm/aAANq). The company monetized Tantan’s dating features, driving an increase in value added services (“VAS”) revenues by 27 percent YOY, according to the Q3 report.

The company’s CEO stepped down in November to become the executive chairman of the board of directors and the chief strategy officer stepped down in December for personal reasons but will continue to serve as a senior advisor to the Company, according to the report. In January, Momo’s shares enjoyed a brief surge after well-known options trader Jon Najarian talked about “unusual activity” in call options and mentioned his Momo options in furtherance of the discussion on CNBC’s Fast Money program (https://nnw.fm/h6Gur), and the company continues working to achieve a sustainable rebound.

“The third quarter of 2020 was a busy quarter for us. As a result of management’s commitment and the persistence of our colleagues, the structural reform within the core live broadcasting business has achieved initial success,” new CEO Li Wang stated in the Q3 report. “Although we have more hard work to do down the path, what we have achieved so far gives us the confidence that our live streaming business has entered into a virtuous cycle supported by a sustainable content ecosystem.”

Despite the challenges, Deutsche Bank analyst Leo Chiang told Yahoo! Finance that Tantan’s average revenue per user (“ARPU”) has been “growing sharply sequentially” and that he expects Tantan to “retain growth momentum on both VAS and live broadcasting but in a moderate manner.” Chiang foresees a gradual turnaround in the second half of the year (https://nnw.fm/SqfRU).

For more information on Momo Inc., visit the company’s Investor Relations web page at https://momoinc.gcs-web.com.

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