Twelve months ago, Ant Group—the fintech subsidiary of Chinese tech giant Alibaba—was primed for the world’s biggest-ever IPO: a $37 billion dual listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Ant’s debut was going to showcase China’s economic vigor amid the pandemic and shatter all previous IPO records.
Then, on Nov. 3 of last year, Chinese regulators, without any warning, unceremoniouslypulled the plugon the firm’s listing the week it was set to make its public debut. One big reason? Jack Ma, Alibaba’s brazenly outspoken founder, had publicly criticized the government’s conservative stance toward financial risk. “Without risk, no innovation can happen in this world,” said Ma at a conference in Shanghai in late October 2020.
The Monday after Ma’s comments, state regulators summoned him and other Alibaba executives to a closed door meeting in Beijing. The next day, Ant’s IPO was canceled.
In Beijing’s view, the company had grown too big for its britches, and the halting of its IPO sent a warning sign, says Ivan Platonov, research manager at China-focused investment research firm EqualOcean: If a Chinese company wanted to raise public capital, it needed to please Beijing first.
Nine months later, the government illustrated what would happen if a company didn’t learn from Ant’s mistake.
On June 30, Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi went public, raising $4.4 billion on the New York Stock Exchange. Chinese authorities were blindsided. Months before Didi’s IPO, China’s cybersecurity watchdog encouraged the company to delay its IPO and examine its network security to ensure sensitive data wouldn’t fall into the hands of U.S. regulators,according to theWall Street Journal.Beijing assumed Didi would wait to go public until the company had at least addressed the government’s worries.
Authoritiescracked downon Didi’s business days later, prohibiting the app from signing up new users and then banning app stores from hosting Didi’s platform. Beijing also announcednew, tough rules for Chinese firms’ offshore listingsthat require domestic firms to obtain state approval before going public overseas.
In the weeks that followed, China introduced new, sweeping guidelines ondata,antitrust, and cybersecurity practices, adding further pressure on firms hopeful for an offshore listing.
Ant’s scuppered IPO and the fallout from Didi’s listing have ushered in an era of the unknown for Chinese companies eyeing the public markets. Some have combated the uncertainty by retreating to bourses closer to home—in Hong Kong or the mainland. But for others, even those venues are too risky, and they’ve put their IPO plans on indefinite hold. Chinese companies are now “much more cautious on overseas listings,” especially as they wait for regulatory clarification, says Bruce Pang, head of macro and strategy at China Renaissance Securities.
“Shock of the century”
Beijing’s crackdown on Ant’s mega IPO stunned the financial world. “This has gone from the deal of the century to the shock of the century,” Francis Lun, CEO of Hong Kong–based GEO Securities,told Reutersthe day that Beijing pulled Ant’s listing. “The Communist Party has shown the tycoon who’s boss,” he said, referring to Ma.
But by January, the opportunities presented by China’s rebounding economy outweighed any fears.
From January to July this year, Chinese listings on American exchanges raised a record $12.8 billion. U.S. investors “were optimistic about China at a time when most countries still struggled with COVID-19 and were dealing with shutdowns,” says John Lau, head of Asian equities at investment firm SEI. “China was in better shape and on a recovery path sooner than others.”
But the Chinese IPO hot streak came to a halt when Beijing cracked down on Didi in July, signaling that its interference in Ant’s IPO wasn’t a one-off.
At the same time, Washingtonturned hawkishtoward Chinese listings. The U.S.’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler in July called for a pause on U.S. IPOs of Chinese companies and then listed new disclosure requirements for those firms seeking to list in New York.
Most companies are now waiting on Beijing to clarify its new rules on data, antitrust, algorithms, andvariable interest entitiesor VIEs—the obscure loophole that has allowed Chinese companies to go public on American exchanges, sidestepping China’s restrictions on foreign investments in domestic businesses.
China’s Securities Regulatory Commission is now spearheading an initiative with other regulatory bureaus to draft rules to govern the overseas listings of Chinese firms with VIE structures, theWSJreports. The government isramping up hiringat its antitrust agency. And Beijing recently passed the Data Security Law, which governs how both domestic and foreign corporations manage their data, and the Personal Information Protection Law, which dictates companies’ use and storage of customer data. Both new laws remainscant on details,leaving businesses in the dark as to how they will be enforced.
Many experts say the sequence of events has abruptly ended the golden age of Chinese companies listing in the U.S. The prospect of any Chinese company listing in New York in the foreseeable future is highly unlikely, says Jay Ritter, finance professor at the University of Florida who focuses on IPOs. Since last November, at least 10 Chinese firms have paused their listings or moved their planned IPOs from the U.S. to Hong Kong to hedge against the multitude of risks, says Platonov.
Podcast platform Ximalaya, which filed to list on the NYSE in April, shelved its U.S. listing plans after Chinese regulators pressured the firm to move its IPO to Hong Kong to allow Beijing more oversight of its business, according to aReuters report.Tencent- and Sony-backed Ximalaya filed for a listing in Hong Kong last month.
Little Red Book (“Xiaohongshu” in Mandarin), a lifestyle content platform akin to a mashup ofInstagramand Pinterest, paused its U.S. float and is considering a Hong Kong listing that could raise $1 billion,says Bloomberg.Other technology companies including bike-sharing platformHellobikeand dating app Soul have formally scrapped their New York IPO plans, while delivery firm Lalamove and A.I. chip company Horizon Robotics are looking to move their U.S. listings to Hong Kong.
Now any Chinese company wanting to go public in New York first will need a host of “compelling reasons” to convince the regulators in Beijing, says Ritter. Then, firms will need to find the sweet spot between the “competing disclosure requirements” of China’s new rules and the U.S.’s tightened listing requirements, says Winston Wenyan Ma, adjunct professor at the NYU School of Law and author ofThe Digital War: How China’s Tech Power Shapes the Future of A.I., Blockchain and Cyberspace.
On Monday, Chinese biotechnology firm LianBio raised $325 million in its public debut—the first China-focused company to list in the U.S. since Didi’s June offering. Still, LianBio’s ability to list in New York may have been helped by a couple of factors: The company doesn’t have a VIE structure or hold “personally identifiable health information of patients in China,” it said in its IPO prospectus. The biotech company warned that “significant legal and operational risks associated with having the majority of our operations in China” still remain.
Chinese firms’ retreat from the U.S. promised to benefit Hong Kong, and, initially at least, the city’s main bourse did experience a windfall of both primary and secondary listings. Chinese tech debuts, in particular, fueled the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s (HKEX)best first half everin terms of IPO proceeds from January to June this year.
But after the Didi episode and Beijing’s introduction of overseas IPO regulation, even Hong Kong wasn’t a viable escape route for Chinese tech firms fleeing uncertainty.
In the third quarter, HKEX’s IPO proceeds plunged 40% from a year earlier, the exchange saidin an earnings releaselast week.Likewise, the number of issues on the HKEX dropped to 24 in this year’s Q3, compared with 38 listings a year earlier. Hong Kong’s listing pipeline grew so cold that even Australia’s IPO marketsurpassedHong Kong’s in October for the first time in two years.
Some mainland firms’ listings have becometangled upin China’s vague new data rules.
Hangzhou-headquartered We Doctor, an online health platform backed by Tencent, had sought a $3 billion Hong Kong IPO this year. But the HKEX wanted guarantees from the health startup that the company was in compliance with Beijing’s data policies. We Doctor has now paused its IPO plans; the company wants to refile in Hong Kong, but hasn’t yet released a timeline.
China’s rules for homegrown companies going public in Hong Kong, which is classified as an overseas bourse, could also become stricter. Chinese companies seeking a Hong Kong listing are waiting on further details and clarification from Beijing on what the government’s host of new rules will entail.
China’s sweeping regulatory crackdown also dampened investor sentiment overall, making the market less amenable to Chinese IPOs. Mainland Internet company NetEase’s music arm Cloud Village has delayed its Hong Kong offering that was set to raise $1 billion. Property platform Anjuke, which was also targeting a $1 billion offer, has scrapped its listing plans until sentiment improves.
In the last year, at least 10 mainland companies have delayed their Hong Kong listings that could have raised some $6 billion.
Hong Kong was expected to be a “less hostile place for Chinese companies to go public [overseas]…while still allowing global investors easy access,” says Lau. “But the [bourse’s] continued success will depend on the actions of regulators in the coming months.”
Beijing is introducing domestic capital market reforms to open China’s markets and increase foreign investment in the country. It launched a Nasdaq-like STAR Market in 2019, under the umbrella of the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE), to allow easier public financing for its homegrown tech firms and unveiled the new Beijing Stock Exchange this year in a bid to fund young startups as U.S. money dries up. At the same time, it continues to promote an environment of uncertainty, even for Chinese-owned corporations that want to list on domestic exchanges.
PC maker Lenovo recently withdrew its $1.5 billion listing on the STAR, saying that the information submitted in its approved IPO prospectus may have been out-of-date—a symptom of China’s stricter scrutiny on domestic listings. The SSE additionallyhalted57 IPO applications last month, citing outdated financial information. The Shanghai bourse has now resumed the review of at least 12 of these applications—like that of agri-tech giantSyngenta’s $10.2 billion offering—after the companies submitted updated information. Still, the mass listings freeze has only drawn further attention to the tighter oversight that Chinese firms now face even from homegrown bourses.
The new rules on overseas listings, meanwhile, could translate to longer waiting times for firms looking to list abroad, which will further “dampen investor sentiment, depress valuations for IPOs in the U.S., and ultimately make it even more difficult for Chinese firms to raise funds overseas,” says Pang.
Chinese companies hopeful for an offshore listing are now playing a waiting game: They’re watching closely for more details from government regulators on how exactly they will carry out their new supervision.
In a bid for greater control and“common prosperity”—Chinese President Xi Jinping’s new initiative to combat social inequality, Beijing will maintain its newfound regulatory zeal, Pang says, and investors should be “reminded that the whole landscape for Chinese equities, offerings and regulatory framework could still undergo dramatic change.”
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The year since Beijing canceled the world's biggest IPO is proof that the golden era of Chinese listings is gone for good. Twelve months ago,
Ant Group, founded by billionaire Jack Ma, scrapped its IPO in November 2020 after regulators flagged concerns with the company. Since then, the company has been ordered to rectify its business.Why was Ant Group IPO suspended? ›
A dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong was postponed one day after Chinese regulators summoned Jack Ma and other executives of the financial technology giant. Ant Challenged Beijing and Prospered.What happened to Ant financial? ›
Ant's $37 billion IPO, which would have been the world's largest, was cancelled at the last minute in November 2020, leading to a forced restructuring of the financial technology firm and speculation the Chinese billionaire would have to cede control. Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.What happened to Ant China? ›
According to Reuters, after the CBIRC approved Cinda's funding plan, China's State Council questioned the investment in Ant Group without having it restructured as per state demands. This resulted in a big loss to Ant Group, just after Ma's public disappearance.What was the biggest IPO fail? ›
- Robinhood. Robinhood's Initial Public Offering was deemed one of the worst IPOs ever for a company of its size, with shares falling as much as 10% within minutes of the opening of trading. ...
- Pets.com. ...
- Uber. ...
- SmileDirectClub. ...
- Root. ...
- Casper Sleep Inc. ...
- Etsy. ...
The Ant IPO prospectus shows a complex ownership structure with Hangzhou Junhan owning 29.86%, Hangzhou Junao owning 20.66%, and Alibaba itself holding 32.65%. Meanwhile, another entity named Hangzhou Yunbo controls the top two stakeholders, Hangzhou Junhan and Hangzhou Junao, as their executive and general partner.What is the main ethical reason that Ant's IPO is halted and Ant was fined? ›
Various concerns and provocations contributed to the cancellation of the Ant Group's public offering – “the biggest IPO in history” – but the root cause is the perception of a dangerous accumulation of systemic financial risk spewing out from Ant's business model.What country owns Ant? ›
Powerful new regulator will have to approve the fintech giant's application to become a financial-holding company. Chinese fintech giant Ant Group's transformation into a fully regulated company has been held up by a reshuffle of China's financial-regulatory system, according to people familiar with the matter.What was the biggest IPO ant? ›
Ant Group to raise $34.5 billion, valuing it at over $313 billion, in biggest IPO of all time. Ant Group would raise $34.5 billion in its dual initial public offering after setting the price for its shares on Monday, making it the biggest listing of all time.
Ant Group makes its money through its lending, investment, and insurance products. It's estimated that the group makes 121 yuan per user, which is just $17.92 or £14.79.What is the price of Ant Group IPO? ›
Ant Group prices IPO at HK$80 per share to give it market cap of $310 billion - MarketWatch.Is Ant a Chinese company? ›
The billionaire founder of Ant Group, Jack Ma, is to give up control of the Chinese fintech giant after a regulatory crackdown. Ant Group said that after the change no-one would have overall control. The formerly flamboyant Mr Ma has seldom been seen in public since criticising China's financial sector in 2020.Is Ant Group legit? ›
Is Ant Group a good company to work for? Ant Group has an overall rating of 4.0 out of 5, based on over 139 reviews left anonymously by employees. 73% of employees would recommend working at Ant Group to a friend and 43% have a positive outlook for the business. This rating has been stable over the past 12 months.Does Alibaba still own Ant Group? ›
Alibaba owns 33% of Ant, which operates AliPay, one of China's two dominant mobile pay apps.Is Ant Group profitable? ›
Ant Group Co.'s quarterly profit fell 56% as the fintech giant shifted its focus from expansion to regulatory compliance, and the company saw a decrease in investment gains. The Hangzhou-based company contributed nearly 3.18 billion yuan ($452 million) in profit to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.What is the largest IPO ever in the US? ›
Current valuation (2023): $464 billion. Visa's 2008 IPO is still the largest of any American corporation, and that's not the only reason that it's remarkable. At a time when the credit crunch was moving up a gear, Visa was asking investors to buy its stock.What is the biggest IPO in history? ›
Energy giant Saudi Aramco set the record for the biggest IPO of all time in 2019.What is the oldest company to IPO? ›
The Dutch East India Co. holds the distinction of being the first company to offer equity shares of its business to the public, effectively conducting the world's first initial public offering (IPO). It also played an integral role in modern history's first stock market crash.Who is the competitor of Ant Financial? ›
Ant Financial's competitors include PalmPay, TNG Wallet, Suning Finance, AlipayHK. Ant Financial ranks 2nd among 28 active competitors.
Chinese business magnate Jack Ma will cede control of fintech giant Ant Group after a Communist Party crackdown on the nation's tech sector that targeted the billionaire.Is Ant Financial a unicorn? ›
Headquartered in Hangzhou (China), Ant Financial has grown into a fintech “Unicorn.” The fintech empire that the company established spanned verticals such as mobile and online payment (Alipay), money market fund (Yu'e Bao), wealth management (Ant Fortune), digital-only banking (MYbank), credit scoring (Zhima Credit), ...What is the problem with ant? ›
Many ants are venomous (including the fire ant, bulldog ant, and bullet ant), and some can carry disease. In fact, recent studies show that the pharaoh ant can carry and transmit organisms such as Salmonella, Staphylococcus, Clostridium and Streptococcus.What threats exist in the ants world? ›
Threats to an ant colony can include those from termites and other predators as well as when they detect environmental threats. Severe weather such as heavy rains or heat are some environmental threats ants face. But they also can detect threats such as chemicals used to kill them.Why did the ethical issue happen? ›
Often, ethical issues arise when it is difficult to prioritize, or accommodate and reconcile, between different principles, values, and/or moral beliefs. Ethical issues may also arise when principles and values conflict with one another.Is Jack Ma still in control of Alibaba? ›
Ma stepped down as Alibaba's executive chairman in 2019 and said at the time he wanted to dedicate his time to philanthropy and rural education. He has kept a low profile since November 2020, when Ant Group Co.Is there a country where ants don't exist? ›
The only areas that don't boast populations of ants are Antarctica, Greenland, Iceland, and some island nations. Most species live in soil, leaf litter, or decaying plants.What is the key successful driver to ants growth? ›
The key to Ant's growth lies in its platform business model. This model starts with Alipay. Similar to Paypal, Alipay processes payments between any two users, whether they're shoppers and small businesses, roommates, or street performers and commuters.Are ant farms worth it? ›
Ant farms are extremely safe if properly maintained, but this can be difficult if you're buying an ant farm for small children. If your child knocks the farm over, or wants to take the ants out to get a better look, you may end up with an ant infestation.What is the interest rate of Ant Financial? ›
The interest rate will start from 6.8 per cent per annum. Ant was one of two groups to get a wholesale digital banking licence in December 2020, allowing it to serve smaller firms and other non-retail segments. It required a capital commitment of S$100 million.
“Alipay was successful because it capitalized on the digital evolution in China,” said Jeffrey Ungerott, managing principal at Capco. “As eCommerce increased in popularity, there was a need to connect consumers and retailers enabling them to efficiently conduct transactions.What percent of Ant Group does Alibaba own? ›
Alibaba owns a roughly 33% stake in Ant Group. Ant said Saturday that Ma would no longer control the company.Can you buy Ant Group stock? ›
You can 'buy' Ant Group shares from the day of listing by speculating on its share price movements using spread bets and CFDs (trading), or you can buy the underlying asset and receive direct ownership of the company shares (investing).Can you invest in Ant Group? ›
Ant Group will first be listed on the Hong Kong exchange, so if you want to invest in the company's shares, you'll need to work with a brokerage that lets you buy shares from that exchange. Make sure to consider any commissions or fees that you have to pay for investing in foreign companies.What famous app is owned by Chinese company? ›
The number two app right now is CapCut, a video editor owned by ByteDance, the same Chinese company that owns TikTok. The number three app is TikTok, the focus of intense Congressional investigations right now over its Chinese ownership.How many ant Farms have been sold? ›
With his brother-in-law, Mr. Levine soon devised what was eventually named Uncle Milton's Ant Farm, which was an instant hit in the fad-crazy 1950s. More than 20 million of the now-familiar green ant colonies were sold in Mr. Levine's lifetime, according to the Westlake Village company that makes them.What tech companies are Chinese owned? ›
Key Takeaways. China's five biggest software companies based on annual revenue are Huawei, JD.com, China Mobile, Alibaba, and Tencent. Alibaba is known as the "Amazon of China" because of its popular online sales platforms, while Tencent is known for its mobile games and prominent social media and messaging app, WeChat ...Is ant design by Alibaba? ›
Ant Design is an open-source design system developed by the Ant Group–parent company of Alibaba, Alipay, Huabei, and MYbank, to name a few. The component library supports React, Vue, and Angular front-end frameworks.Is Alipay owned by Alibaba? ›
Alipay (simplified Chinese: 支付宝; traditional Chinese: 支付寶; pinyin: zhīfùbǎo) is a third-party mobile and online payment platform, established in Hangzhou, China in February 2004 by Alibaba Group and its founder Jack Ma.Who owns Alibaba? ›
Alibaba Group Holding Limited, or Alibaba (Chinese: 阿里巴巴), is a Chinese multinational technology company specializing in e-commerce, retail, Internet, and technology.How much Jack Ma owns Alibaba? ›
Net Worth Summary
The majority of Ma's wealth is derived from publicly traded Alibaba Group Holdings and its online payment service Ant Group. Ma owns 3.9% of Alibaba, China's largest e-commerce company, according to the company's 13D filing in February 2022.
Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) is owned by 1.72% institutional shareholders, 0.00% Alibaba insiders, and 98.28% retail investors. Primecap Management Co is the largest individual Alibaba shareholder, owning 17.28M shares representing 0.08% of the company. Primecap Management Co's Alibaba shares are currently valued at $1.46B.Is Ant Financial a Fintech? ›
The facts: Ant Group's dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong – scheduled for November 5, 2020 – was hailed to become the world's largest Initial Public Offering (IPO).What was Ant Group IPO stock price? ›
Ant Group prices IPO at HK$80 per share to give it market cap of $310 billion - MarketWatch.What is IPO closing date? ›
IPO Closing Date means the date on which the Company first receives payment for the shares of Common Stock it sells in the IPO.Why has the IPO volume in the US declined since 2000? ›
Fear of red tape and its associated costs – One theory for the falling number of U.S. IPOs over the last 20 years blames the decline on regulatory constraints, referred to as “fear of red tape” by the Economist.Is Ant Financial listed? ›
Ant Group was expected to file a preliminary IPO prospectus in July 2022, but now has no plans to file formally. The company had wanted to go public previously but the listing was shelved in 2020 after Beijing cracked down on US-listed Chinese stocks.What is the highest IPO share price ever? ›
- Saudi Aramco - $25.6 billion.
- Alibaba Group - $21.7 billion raise.
- Softbank Corp - $21.3 billion.
- NTT Mobile - $18.1 billion.
- Visa - $17.86 billion.
- AIA - $17.78 billion.
- EneL SpA - $16.45 billion.
- Facebook - $16.45 billion.
In the United States, the first IPO was the public offering of Bank of North America around 1783.
Once the IPO process has ended, the allotment is finalised by the third working day. This is also referred to as the basis of allotment date. Intimation of funds takes place on the fourth working day, and on the fifth working day, you receive your shares in your demat account.How long does a stock stay an IPO? ›
The initial public offering, also known as the IPO lockup period, is a signed restriction that prevents shareholders of a company from selling the stock before the company goes public. This period can vary, and it is usually happening anywhere from 90 days to 180 days from the day of the IPO.Can I buy shares after IPO closed? ›
Buying and selling a stock shortly after its IPO can be highly risky because the price of a stock once it goes public can be vastly different from its IPO price. Also, IPO stocks may not perform as expected in the short term. That said, investors may want to have potential exit strategies for their IPO stocks.Why do most IPOs fail? ›
Lack of planning. The number one reason IPOs or SPACs fail is due to a lack of planning.Why can't i sell IPO shares? ›
IPO trading only starts when the market opens on the listing day. You cannot usually sell before this time. They can be sold at or after the beginning of the trading session on listing day.Which country has most listed companies? ›
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is the 1st on the list of the largest stock exchange in the world and is a highly esteemed stock exchange in the USA which is situated at 11, Wall Street, New York City. It was established on May 17, 1792, and consists of 2,400 listed companies.