Shares in online dating platform operator Sunfun Info Co (尚凡資訊) closed 14 percent above their initial public offering (IPO) price during yesterday’s debut on the GRETAI Securities Market, outperforming the over-the-counter index, which fell 0.14 percent.
The shares opened at NT$197, 20 percent higher than the IPO price of NT$164. They closed at NT$187.
Taipei-based Sunfun, which operates iPartment.com, is the nation’s largest dating platform, with 4.32 million members, including 57,000 paying members.
Established in 2002 and merged with Yahoo-Kimo’s (雅虎奇摩) online dating business unit in 2010, the company joins several social networking companies around the world that have gone public to raise more money and increase their business profile in recent years.
The Taiwanese company also expects the move to help it maintain its leading place in the domestic online dating market, which Sunfun estimates is worth NT$570 billion (US$18.99 billion) a year, according to the company’s IPO document, released on May 14 on its Web site.
In Taiwan, there are 9.5 million single adults and 3.5 million of them are using online sites to search for the perfect partner, the document said, citing statistics compiled by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics.
With an eye on this market, Sunfun has developed a matchmaking algorithm that encourages members to read private messages, chat with peers, buy virtual pets and decorate their virtual apartments to boost the number of registered users.
To further increase its user numbers and revenue streams, the company plans to develop location-based services, apps for Facebook, peer review among its members, and astrology and psychological profile matching functions, company president Jamy Lin (林志銘) said in the document.
Sunfun also expects more revenue to come from smartphone apps and overseas Chinese markets, Lin said.
“Applications for mobile devices are expected to attract new users and increase the frequency of user visits,” Capital Securities Corp (群益證券) said in a note yesterday.
In the first quarter, sales generated from smartphone apps accounted for 15 percent of the company’s first-quarter revenue, up 648 percent year-on-year, while those from overseas markets contributed about 4 percent of the total, up 38 percent from a year ago, the document showed.
Sunfun’s revenue for the first quarter grew 20.35 percent year-on-year to NT$81.08 million and net profit expanded 74.75 percent to NT$24.66 million, or earnings per share (EPS) of NT$2.11.
The company’s revenue for this year is estimated to grow by 15 percent year-on-year to NT$344 million on an improved user mix, more users and increased app revenues through smartphones, Capital Securities said.
Net profit is forecast to increase by more than 14 percent to NT$108 million from last year, with EPS of NT$8.24, the brokerage said.