The Chinese fintech firm Ant Group has initiated the process of going public through two simultaneous initial public offerings – one in Shanghai and the other in Hong Kong.
Shares of the company on both the Shanghai stock exchange’s STAR — a Nasdaq-style tech board — and the Hong Kong stock exchange, would be launched concurrently by Ant which is Ant, an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba, the company said on Monday.
The company said that this strategy of dual listing will help Ant “accelerate its goal of digitizing the service industry in China”.
“Becoming a public company will enhance transparency to our stakeholders, including customers, business partners, employees, shareholders and regulators,” Ant CEO Eric Jing said in a statement. “Through our commitment to serving the under-served, we make it possible for the whole of society to share our growth.”
No further details about how much the company was targeting to raise in the dual IPOs or when it would go public, was provided by the Ant Group, which as formerly known as Ant Financial. The Alipay mobile wallet is the best known product of Ant which has become a wildly popular alternative to cash in China together with Tencent’s WeChat Pay.
With a reported valuation of $150 billion, Ant is regarded as the largest so-called “unicorn” company of the world. The listing of shares of Ant could become one of the biggest IPOs of 2020 given the valuation of the company. This would be a boost to the IPO industry and investors given the current tough global economic environment because of the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic. It has been reported that the company is targeting to achieve a valuation of $200 billion.
According to analysts, the listing of Ant on the STAR board will be a major positive event for China as the country looks to attract local tech stars to the mainland Chinese market. SMIC, the biggest chipmaker of China got itself listed on the STAR market last week and its shares more than tripled in the very first day of trading of the company’s shares.
If this deal goes through, it would also illustrate that despite the concerns over Hong Kong’s attractiveness as a financial hub after the Chinese government imposed the new controversial national security law in the city – a special autonomous region, last month, it could still be seen as an attractive option for companies to launch IPOs.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)