We may soon have another pureplay CDN to invest in. ChinaCache has filed an F-1 with the SEC, preparing to rase something like $100M in an IPO on the Nasdaq under the symbol CCIH. And with such a filing comes a supply of financial data that lets us see just where the company fits alongside its peers. In 2009, ChinaCache took in $39.9M in revenue, recording $10.4M in adjusted EBITDA while losing $5.7M. In the first six months of 2010, revenues were $25.1M with $7.2M in EBITDA and a loss of $3.6M. So they’re a little under one third the size of Limelight Networks (NASDAQ:LLNW, news, filings).
ChinaCache is, obviously, focused on the Chinese CDN market. Actually, it pretty much *is* the Chinese CDN market, its direct competition includes only a few younger, smaller, Chinese-based companies. Foreign CDNs such as Akamai (NASDAQ:AKAM, news, filings), Limelight, and Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings) only do business here via a partner, and take a wild guess who is invariably that partner. China’s web of relationships and bureaucratic hurdles will probably keep it that way, and one might think of ChinaCache as the Baidu of the CDN space. Why list on the NASDAQ? Well, because that’s where the money is, of course.
That’s not to say there aren’t risks. Trying to understand the maze that is their corporate ownership and or the web of internal contractual relationships is an exercise in futility – even if you parse the SEC language it is clear that there are unspoken relationships underlying the words. It’s always that way when foreign money is harnessed to do business in China, and as Google found out – it’s not for the faint-hearted.
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