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Momo Announces Unaudited Financial Results for the First Quarter 2018

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Momo Announces Unaudited Financial Results for the First Quarter 2018

Momo Inc. (NASDAQ: MOMO) (“Momo” or the “Company”), a leading mobile social networking platform in China, today announced its unaudited financial results for the first quarter 2018.

First Quarter 2018 Highlights

  • Net revenues increased 64% year over year to $435.1 million.
  • Net income attributable to Momo Inc. increased to $129.9 million in the first quarter of 2018 from $81.2 million in the same period last year.
  • Non-GAAP net income attributable to Momo Inc. (note 1) increased 57% to $142.3 million in the first quarter of 2018 from $90.7 million in the same period last year.
  • Diluted net income per American Depositary Share (“ADS”) was $0.63, compared to $0.40 in the same period last year.
  • Non-GAAP diluted net income per ADS (note 1) was $0.69, compared to $0.44 in the same period last year.
  • Monthly Active Users (“MAU”)[1] were 103.3 million in March 2018, compared to 85.2 million in March 2017.
  • Total paying users of our live video service and value-added service, without double counting the overlap, were 8.1 million for the first quarter of 2018, compared to 7.0 million for the first quarter of 2017.

>[1]MAU during a given calendar month is defined as Momo users who accessed the Momo platform through Momo mobile application and utilized any of the functions on the Momo platform for at least one day during the 30-day period counting back from the last day of such calendar month. The active users on Hani, the Company’s stand-alone live video application, were not included in the MAU disclosed herein.

“We had another strong quarter and a great start to the year 2018. I am glad to see that we have achieved outstanding results on all strategical priorities we outlined at the beginning of the year. Our community continued to grow in size and engagements despite the negative seasonality, thanks to the product and marketing initiatives we have been taking in recent quarters. The content ecosystem continues to improve, driving robust organic growth momentum for live streaming business. Strong topline performance, coupled with the operating leverage of our business model creates ample room for us to make significant investment for our future while maintaining a healthy profit margin. ” Commented Yan Tang, Chairman and CEO of Momo. “We closed the acquisition of Tantan in May and together will be moving forward as a dominant player in China’s open social territory. Tantan has made remarkable progresses in user growth and monetization since the beginning of 2018. We believe Tantan has a great deal of potential to be unlocked and will be adding tremendous value to our ecosystem in the future.”

First Quarter 2018 Financial Results

Net revenues

Total net revenues were $435.1 million in the first quarter of 2018, an increase of 64% from $265.2 million in the first quarter of 2017.

Live video service revenues continued its momentum and the total live video service revenues were $371.5 million in the first quarter of 2018, an increase of 74.8% from $212.6 million during the same period of 2017. The rapid growth in live video revenues was contributed by the increase in the quarterly paying users, which was 4.4 million for the first quarter of 2018, as well as, the increase in the average revenues per paying user per quarter.

Value-added service revenues mainly include membership subscription revenues and virtual gift revenues. The total value-added service revenues were $37.0 million in the first quarter of 2018, an increase of 62% from $22.9 million during the same period of 2017. The year over year increase was primarily driven by the increase in the number of paying users, and to a lesser extent, the increase in the average revenues per paying user per quarter with the result that we introduced more and more value-added services to our users to enrich communication experience among users. Total paying users of our value-added service were 5.1 million and 4.3 million for the first quarter of 2018 and 2017, respectively.

Mobile marketing revenues were $18.7 million in the first quarter of 2018, an increase of 5% from $17.9 million during the same period of 2017. The growth in mobile marketing revenues was driven by the increased demand from brand marketers.

Mobile games revenues were $6.6 million in the first quarter of 2018, a decrease of 43% from $11.6 million in the first quarter of 2017. The decrease in game revenues was mainly due to the decrease in the quarterly paying users.

Cost and expenses

Cost and expenses were $288.7 million in the first quarter of 2018, an increase of 65% from $175.1 million in the first quarter of 2017. The increase was primarily attributable to: (a) an increase in revenue sharing with the broadcasters related to our live video service and virtual gift recipients; (b)  an increase in personnel related costs including share-based compensation expenses as a result of the Company’s rapidly expanding talent pool; (c) an increase in marketing and promotional expenses to enhance our brand awareness, attract users and promote the live video service; (d) increased infrastructure related spending, such as short messaging service charges, bandwidth costs and server depreciation costs, driven by more functions introduced on Momo’s platform.

Non-GAAP cost and expenses (note 1) were $276.3 million in the first quarter of 2018, an increase of 67% from $165.6 million during the same period last year.

Income from operations

Income from operations was $147.5 million in the first quarter of 2018, compared to $91.0 million during the same period last year.

Non-GAAP income from operations (note 1) was $159.9 million in the first quarter of 2018, compared to $100.6 million during the same period last year.

Income tax expenses

Income tax expenses were $26.9 million in the first quarter of 2018, increased from $15.8 million in the first quarter of 2017. The increase was mainly because we generated higher profit in the first quarter of 2018.

Net income attributable to Momo Inc.

Net income attributable to Momo Inc. was $129.9 million in the first quarter of 2018, compared to $81.2 million during the same period last year.

Non-GAAP net income (note 1) attributable to Momo Inc. was $142.3 million in the first quarter of 2018, compared to $90.7 million during the same period last year.

Net income per ADS

Diluted net income per ADS was $0.63 in the first quarter of 2018, compared to $0.40 in the first quarter of 2017.

Non-GAAP diluted net income per ADS (note 1) was $0.69 in the first quarter of 2018, compared to $0.44 in the first quarter of 2017.

Cash and cash flow

As of March 31, 2018, Momo’s cash, cash equivalents, term deposits and restricted cash totaled $969.4 million, compared to $1,059.6 million as of December 31, 2017. Net cash provided by operating activities in the first quarter of 2018 was $129.9 million, compared to $95.4 million for the same quarter of 2017.

Recent Development

Drawdown of Long-term Bank Loan

To facilitate the closing of our acquisition of 100% equity stake of Tantan Limited, as previously announced on February 23, 2018, we borrowed a bank loan facility from a domestic commercial bank in May 2018. Total amount of drawdown was US$300 million, with a fixed interest rate of 4.5% per annum and with a period of two years.

Business Outlook

For the second quarter of 2018, the Company expects total net revenues to be between $470.0 million and $485.0 million, representing a year-over-year increase of 51% to 55%. Our revenue guidance includes around $4.5 million revenue from Tantan for the month of June 2018 which we expect to consolidate in our financial statement of the second quarter of 2018. These estimates reflect the Company’s current and preliminary view, which is subject to change.

Note 1: Non-GAAP measures

To supplement our consolidated financial statements presented in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”), we use various non-GAAP financial measures that are adjusted from the most comparable GAAP results to exclude share-based compensation.

Reconciliations of our non-GAAP financial measures to our U.S. GAAP financial measures are shown in tables at the end of this earnings release, which provide more details about the non-GAAP financial measures.

Our non-GAAP financial information is provided as additional information to help investors compare business trends among different reporting periods on a consistent basis and to enhance investors’ overall understanding of the historical and current financial performance of our continuing operations and our prospects for the future. Our non-GAAP financial information should be considered in addition to results prepared in accordance with GAAP, but should not be considered a substitute for or superior to the GAAP results. In addition, our calculation of the non-GAAP financial measures may be different from the calculation used by other companies, and therefore comparability may be limited.

Our non-GAAP information (including non-GAAP cost and operating expenses, income from operations, net income attributable to Momo Inc., and diluted earnings per ADS) is adjusted from the most comparable GAAP results to exclude share-based compensation, and such adjustment has no impact on income tax. A limitation of using these non-GAAP financial measures is that share-based compensation charge has been and will continue to be for the foreseeable future a significant recurring expense in our results of operations. We compensate for these limitations by providing reconciliations of our non-GAAP measures to our U.S. GAAP measures.

Safe Harbor Statement

This news release contains “forward-looking” statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include but are not limited to our management quotes and our financial outlook for the second quarter of 2018.

Our forward-looking statements are not historical facts but instead represent only our belief regarding expected results and events, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and outside of our control. Our actual results and other circumstances may differ, possibly materially, from the anticipated results and events indicated in these forward-looking statements. Announced results for the first quarter of 2018 are preliminary, unaudited and subject to audit adjustment. In addition, we may not meet our financial outlook for the second quarter of 2018 and may be unable to grow our business in the manner planned. We may also modify our strategy for growth.  In addition, there are other risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ from what we currently anticipate, including those relating to our ability to retain and grow our user base, our ability to attract and retain sufficiently trained professionals to support our operations, and our ability to anticipate and develop new services and enhance existing services to meet the demand of our users or customers.  For additional information on these and other important factors that could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects, please see our filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

All information provided in this press release and in the attachments is as of the date of the press release. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date of this release, except as required by law. Such information speaks only as of the date of this release.

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Lockdown 2.0 – Here’s how to be the best-looking person in the virtual room

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Lockdown 2.0 – Here's how to be the best-looking person in the virtual room 1

By Jeff Carlson, author of The Photographer’s Guide to Luminar 4 and Take Control of Your Digital Photos

suggests “the product you’re creating is not the camera, the lens or a webcam’s clever industrial design. It’s the subject, you, which is just on e part of the entire image they see. You want that image to convey quality, not convenience.”

Technology experts at Reincubate saw an opportunity in the rise of remote-working video calls and developed the app, Camo, to improve the video quality of our webcam calls. As part of this, they consulted the digital photography expert and author, Jeff Carlson, to reveal how we can look our best online. 

It’s clear by now that COVID-19 has normalised remote working, but as part of this the importance of video calls has risen exponentially. While we’re all used to seeing the more casual sides of our colleagues (t-shirt and shorts, anyone?), poor webcam quality is slightly less forgivable.

But how can we improve how we look on video? We consulted Jeff Carlson for some top tips– here is what he had to say.

  1. Improve the picture quality of your call

The better your camera, the higher quality your webcam calls will be. Most webcams (as well as currently being hard to get hold of and expensive), are subpar. A DSLR setup will give you the best picture, but will cost $1,500+. You can also use your iPhone’s amazing camera as a webcam, using the new app from Reincubate, Camo.

Jeff’s comments “The iPhone’s camera system features dedicated coprocessors for evaluating and adjusting the image in real time. Apple has put a tremendous amount of work into its imaging software as a way to compensate for the necessarily small camera sensors. Although it all works in service of creating stills and video, you get the same benefits when using the iPhone as a webcam.”

Aidan Fitzpatrick, CEO of Reincubate explains why the team created Camo, “Earlier this year our team moved to working remotely, and in video calls everyone looked pretty bad, irrespective of whether they were on built-in Mac webcams or third-party ones. Thus began my journey to build Camo: an iPhone has one of the world’s best cameras in it, so could we make it work as a webcam? Category-leading webcams are noticeably worse than an iPhone 7. This makes sense: six weeks of Apple’s R&D spend tops Logitech’s annual gross revenue.”

  1. Place your camera at eye level

A video call will never quite be the same as a face-to-face conversation, but bringing your camera up to eye level is a good place to start. That can involve putting your laptop on a stand or pile of books, mounting a webcam to the top of your display screen, or even using a tripod to get the perfect position.

Jeff points out, “If the camera is looking down on you, you’ll appear minimized in the frame; if it’s looking up, you’re inviting people to focus on your chin, neck, or nostrils. Most important, positioning the camera off your eye level is a distraction. Look them in the eye, even if they’re miles or continents away.

Lockdown 2.0 – Here's how to be the best-looking person in the virtual room 2

Low camera placement from a MacBook

  1. Make the most of natural lighting

Be aware of the lighting in the room and move yourself to face natural lighting if you can. Positioning the camera so any natural light is behind you takes the light away from your face, which can make it harder to see and read expressions on a call.

Jeff Carlson’s top tip: “If the light from outside is too harsh, diffuse it and create softer shadows by tacking up a white sheet or a stand-alone diffuser over the window.” 

Lockdown 2.0 – Here's how to be the best-looking person in the virtual room 3Lockdown 2.0 – Here's how to be the best-looking person in the virtual room 4

Backlit against a window Facing natural light

  1. Use supplementary lighting like ring lights

The downside to natural lighting is that you’re at the mercy of the elements: if it’s too bright you’ll have the sun in your eyes, if it’s too dark you won’t be well lit.

Jeff recommends adding supplementary lighting if you’re looking to really enhance your video calls. After all, it looks like remote working will be carrying on for quite some time.

“The light can be just as easy as a household or inexpensive work light. Angle the light so it’s bouncing off a wall or the ceiling, depending on your work area, which, again, diffuses the light and makes it more flattering.

Or, for a little money, use a softbox or a shoot-through umbrella with daylight bulbs (5500K temperature), or if space is tight, LED panels. Larger lights are better for distributing illumination– don’t be afraid to get them in close to you. Placement depends on the look you’re going after; start by positioning one at a 45-degree angle in front and to the side of you, which lights most of your face while retaining nice shadow detail.” 

In some cases, a ring light may work best. LEDs are arranged in a circle, with space in the middle to put the camera’s lens and get direct illumination from the direction of the camera.

  1. Centre yourself in the frame

Make sure you’re getting the right angle and that you’re using the frame effectively.

“You should aim for people to see your head and part of your torso, not all the space between your hair and the ceiling. Leave a little space above your head so it’s not cut off, but not enough that someone’s eyes are going to drift there.”

  1. Be mindful of your backdrop

It’s not always easy to get the quiet space needed for video calls when working from home, but try as best you can to remove anything too distracting from your background.

“Get rid of clutter or anything that’s distracting or unprofessional, because you can bet that will be the second thing the viewers notice after they see you. (The Twitter account @RateMySkypeRoom is an amusing ongoing commentary on the environments people on television are connecting from.)”

A busy background as seen by a webcam

  1. Make the most of virtual backgrounds

If you’re really struggling with finding a background that looks professional, try using a virtual background.

Jeff suggests: “Some apps can identify your presence in the scene and create a live mask that enables you to use an entirely different image to cover the background. While it’s a fun feature, the quality of the masking is still rudimentary, even with a green screen background that makes this sort of keying more accurate.”

  1. Be aware of your audio settings

Our laptop webcams, cameras, and mobile phones all include microphones, but if it’s at all possible, use a separate microphone instead.

“That can be an inexpensive lavalier mic, a USB microphone, or a set of iPhone earbuds. You can also get wireless lavalier models if you’re moving around during a call, such as presenting at a whiteboard in the camera’s field of view.

The idea is to get the microphone closer to your mouth so it’s recording what you say, not other sounds or echoes in the room. If you type during meetings, mount the mic on an arm instead of resting it on the same surface as your keyboard.”

  1. Be wary of video app add-ons

Video apps like Zoom include a ‘Touch up your appearance’ option in the Video settings. This applies a skin-smoothing filter to your face, but more often than not, the end result looks artificially blurry instead of smooth.

“Zoom also includes settings for suppressing persistent and intermittent background noise, and echo cancellation. They’re all set to Auto by default, but you can choose how aggressive or not the feature is.”

  1. Be the best looking person in the virtual room

What’s important to remember about video calls at this point in time is that most people are new to what is, really, personal broadcasting. That means you can easily get an edge, just by adopting a few suggestions in this article. When your video and audio quality improves, people will take notice.

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Bringing finance into the 21st Century – How COVID and collaboration are catalysing digital transformation

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Bringing finance into the 21st Century – How COVID and collaboration are catalysing digital transformation 5

By Keith Phillips, CEO of TISATech

If just six or seven months ago someone had told you that in a matter of weeks people around the world would be locked down in their homes, trying to navigate modern work systems from a prehistoric laptop, bickering with family over who’s hogging the Wi-Fi, migrating online to manage all financial services digitally, all while washing their hands every five minutes in fear of a global pandemic… You’d think they had lost their mind. But this very quickly became the reality for huge swathes of the world and we’re about to go through that all over again as the UK government has asked that those who can work from home should.

Unsurprisingly, statistics show that lockdown restrictions introduced by the UK government in March, led to a sharp increase in people adopting digital services. Banks encouraged its customers to log onto online banking, as they limited (and eventually halted) services at branches. This forced many customers online as their primary means of managing personal finances for the first time.

If anyone had doubts before, the Covid-19 pandemic proved to us the importance of well-functioning, effective digital financial services platforms, for both financial institutions and the people using them.

But with this sudden mass online migration, it’s become clear that traditional banks have struggled to keep up with servicing clients virtually. Legacy banking systems have always stilted the digitisation of financial services, but the pandemic thrust this issue into the limelight. Fintech firms, which focus intently on digital and mobile services, knew it was only a matter of time before financial institutions’ reliance was to increase at an unprecedented rate.

For years, fintechs have been called upon by traditional players to find solutions to problems borne from those clunky legacy systems, like manual completion of account changes and money transfers. Now it is the demand for these services to be online coupled with the need for financial services firms to cut costs, since Covid-19 hit the economy.

Covid-19 has catalysed the urgent need to bring digital transformation to a wider pool of financial services businesses. Customers now have even higher expectations of larger institutions, demanding that they keep up with what the younger and more nimble challengers have to offer. Industry leaders realise that they must transform their businesses as soon as possible, by streamlining and digitising operations to compete and, ultimately, improve services for their customers.

The race for digital acceleration began far before the recent pandemic – in fact, following the 2008 financial crisis is likely more accurate. Since the credit crunch, there has been a wave of new fintech firms, full of young, bright techies looking to be the next big thing. Fintechs have marketed themselves hard at big conferences and expos or by hosting ‘hackathons’, trying to prove themselves as the fastest, most innovative or the most vital to the future of the industry.

However, even during this period where accelerating innovation in online financial services and legacy systems is crucial, the conditions brought about by the pandemic have not been conducive to this much-needed transformation.

The second issue, which again was clear far before the pandemic, is that fact that no matter how nimble or clever the fintechs’ solutions are, it is still hard to implement the solutions seamlessly, as the sector is highly fragmented with banks using extremely outdated systems populated with vast amounts of data.

With the significance of the pandemic becoming more and more clear, and the need for better digital products and services becoming more crucial to financial services firms and consumers by the day, the industry has finally come together to provide a solution.

The TISAtech project was launched last month by The Investing and Saving Alliance (TISA), a membership organisation in the UK with more than 200 leading financial institutions as members. TISA asked The Disruption House, a specialist benchmarking and data analytics business, to create a clearing house platform for the industry to help it more effectively integrate new financial technology. The project aims to enhance products and services while reducing friction and ultimately lowering costs which are passed on to the customers.

With nearly 4,000 fintechs from around the world participating, it will be the world’s largest marketplace dedicated to Open Finance, Savings, and Investment.

Not only will it provide a ‘matchmaking’ service between financial institutions an fintechs, it will also host a sandbox environment. Financial institutions can pose real problems with real data and the fintechs are given the space to race to the bottom – to find the most constructive, cost-effective solution.

Yes, there are other marketplaces, but they all seem to struggle to achieve a return on investment. There is a genuine need for the ‘Trivago’ of financial technology – a one stop shop, run by an independent body, which can do more than just matchmaking. It needs to go above and beyond to encompass the sandboxing, assessments, profiling of fintechs to separate the wheat from the chaff, and provide a space for true collaboration.

The pandemic has taught us that we are more effective if we work together. We need mass support and collaboration to find solutions to problems. Businesses and industries are no different. If fintechs and financial institutions can work together, there is a real chance that we can start to lessen the economic hit for many businesses and consumers by lowering costs and streamlining better services and products. And even if it is just making it that little bit easier to manage personal finances from home when fighting with your children for the Wi-Fi, we are making a difference.

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What to Know Before You Expand Across Borders

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What to Know Before You Expand Across Borders 6

By Sean King, Director of International Tax at McGuire Sponsel

The American retail giant, Target Corporation, has a market cap of $64 billion and access to seemingly limitless resources and advisors. So, when the company engaged in its first global expansion, how could anything possibly go wrong?

Less than two years after opening its first Canadian store in 2013, Target shut down all133 Canadian locations and terminated more than 17,000 Canadian employees.

Expansion of an operation to another country can create unique challenges that may impact the financial viability of the entire enterprise. If Target Corporation can colossally fail in its expansion to Canada, how might Mom ‘N’ Pop LLC fare when expanding into Switzerland, Singapore, or Australia?

Successful global expansion requires an understanding of multilayered taxes, regulatory hurdles, employment laws, and cultural nuances. Fortunately, with the right guidance, global expansion can be both possible and profitable for businesses of any size.

Permanent establishment

Any company with global ambitions must first consider whether the company’s expansion outside of the U.S. will give rise to a taxable presence in the local country. In the cross-border context, a “permanent establishment” can be created in a local country when the enterprise reaches a certain level of activity, which is problematic because it exposes the U.S. multinational to taxation in the foreign country.

Foreign entity incorporation

To avoid permanent establishment risk, many U.S. multinationals choose to operate overseas through a formal corporate subsidiary, which reduces the company’s foreign income tax exposure, though it may result in an additional level of foreign income tax on the subsidiary’s earnings. In most jurisdictions, multinationals can operate their business in the foreign country as a branch, a pass through (e.g., partnership,) or a corporation.

As a branch, the U.S. multinational does not create a subsidiary in the foreign country. It holds assets, employees, and bank accounts under its own name. With a pass through, the U.S. multinational creates a separate entity in the foreign country that is treated as a partnership under the tax law of the foreign country but not necessarily as a partnership under U.S. tax law.

U.S. multinationals can also create corporate subsidiaries in the foreign country treated as corporations under the tax law of both the foreign country and the U.S., with possibly two levels of income taxation in the foreign country plus U.S. income taxation of earnings repatriated to the U.S. as dividends.

Check-the-box planning

Under U.S. entity classification rules, certain types of entities can “check the box” to elect their classification to be taxed as a corporation with two levels of tax, a partnership with pass-through taxation, or even be disregarded for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The check the box election allows U.S. multinationals to engage in more effective global tax planning.

Toll charges, transfer pricing and treaties

When establishing a foreign corporate subsidiary, the U.S. multinational will likely need to transfer certain assets to the new entity to make it fully operational. However, in many cases, the U.S. multinational cannot perform the transfer without recognizing taxable income. In the international context, the IRS imposes certain outbound “toll charges” on the transfer of appreciated property to a foreign entity, which are usually provided for in IRC Section 367 and subject to various exceptions and nuances.

Instead, the U.S. multinational may prefer to license intellectual property to the foreign subsidiary for a fee rather than transfer the property outright. However, licensing requires the company and foreign subsidiary to adhere to transfer pricing rules, as dictated by IRC Section 482. The U.S. multinational and the foreign subsidiary must interact in an arms-length manner regarding pricing and economic terms. Furthermore, any such arrangement may attract withholding taxes when royalties are paid across a border.

Are you GILTI?

Certain U.S. multinationals opt to focus on deferring the income recognition at the U.S. level. In doing so, they simply leave overseas profits overseas and delay repatriating any of the earnings to the U.S.

Despite the general merits of this form of planning, U.S. multinationals will be subject to certain IRS anti-deferral mechanisms, commonly known as “Subpart F” and GILTI. Essentially, U.S. shareholders of certain foreign corporations are forced to recognize their pro rata share of certain types of income generated by these foreign entities at the time the income is earned instead of waiting until the foreign entity formally repatriates the income to the U.S.

The end goal

Essentially, all effective international tax planning boils down to treasury management. Effective and early tax planning can properly allow a company to better achieve its initial goal: profitability.

If global expansion is on the horizon for your company, consult a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.

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