Ant Group affirms pledge to embrace supervision, stable innovation in regulatory meeting before world’s largest IPO

Enoch Yiu
·3-min read

Four Chinese regulatory bodies, led by the People’s Bank of China, held a meeting with the top executives of Ant Group, days before shares of the fintech company are due to make their trading debut in Shanghai and Hong Kong in the world’s biggest initial public offering.

The regulators met with Ant Group’s co-founder Jack Ma, executive chairman Eric Jing and chief executive Simon Hu, according to a statement by the securities regulator, without elaborating on the purpose or content of the meeting.

The meeting also included representatives from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, the China Securities Regulatory Commission and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), the currency regulator.

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“On November 2, 2020, Ma as controlling shareholder of Ant Group and Ant’s management team met with Chinese financial regulators,” according to a statement from the Hangzhou-based fintech company. “Views regarding the health and stability of the financial sector were exchanged. Ant Group is committed to implementing the meeting opinions in depth and continuing our course based on the principles of: stable innovation; embrace of regulation; service to the real economy; and win-win cooperation. We will continue to improve our capabilities to provide inclusive services and promote economic development to improve the lives of ordinary citizens.”

Logos of Ant Group and Alibaba at the headquarters of Ant Group in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Photo: Reuters
Logos of Ant Group and Alibaba at the headquarters of Ant Group in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Photo: Reuters

Ant Group’s shares are due to commence trading simultaneously in Shanghai and Hong Kong on November 5 in a US$39.67 billion stock sale after any over-allotment option is exercised, which has broken all records as the largest fundraising in global finance.

The first dual listing of its kind on the two exchanges soaked up more than US$3 trillion from retail investors, setting off frenzied bids for the shares of Ant Group.

A record 19.05 trillion yuan (US$2.85 trillion) of bids were received from retail investors for Ant’s shares on Shanghai’s Star Market, exceeding the supply of shares by 870 times.

In Hong Kong, 1.55 million retail investors, or about one-fifth of the city’s population, poured in HK$1.3 trillion (US$167.7 billion) for the shares when the book closed at noon on Friday, overbidding by 389 times, according to people familiar with the matter.

Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba, exercises 50.52 per cent of Ant Group’s voting rights through stakes in two limited partnership units. The National Social Security Fund (NSSF), China’s 2.63 trillion yuan state pension scheme, has been a strategic investor in Ant Group since 2015, and remains a cornerstone investor in the fintech company.

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