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Ant Group IPO could get back on track if it resolves issues, China’s central bank governor suggests

Ant Group’s initial public offering (IPO) could resume if the company resolves its issues, China’s central bank governor hinted on Tuesday. The Ant Group IPO, which would have been the biggest in history, was pulled by regulators just days before it was due to begin trading in Shanghai and Hong Kong in November. At the time, the Shanghai Stock Exchange said Ant Group reported “significant issues such as the changes in financial technology regulatory environment” that meant it might fall foul of listing rules.

The suspension of the IPO also came shortly after Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, which owns roughly a third of Ant Group, made some comments that appeared critical of China’s financial regulator. During a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum on Tuesday, Yi Gang, governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), called the situation a “complicated issue,” emphasizing the process is “rule by law” and needs to follow “legal procedure.” Ant Group will need to address issues such as user privacy, Yi added.

While the PBOC governor’s comments did not explicitly greenlight an IPO, they indicated that Ant Group could have a path forward to listing. Analysts previously told CNBC however that the valuation, which was initially at over $300 billion, could fall to under $150 billion. Ant Group runs the popular mobile payments app Alipay in China but over the years has expanded into areas such as lending and wealth management. Regulators are concerned that Ant poses a systemic risk to the economy. The PBOC has asked Ant Group to come up with a rectification plan for its business and a timetable to implement it.

Ant Group IPO could get back on track if it resolves issues, China’s central bank governor suggests, CNBC, Jan 27

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