Shanghai Stock Exchange to review Ant Financial IPO application

The Shanghai Stock Exchange will today review financial tech company Ant Group’s application for an Initial Public Offering (IPO). Ant

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Photo: REUTERS/Shu Zhang

The Shanghai Stock Exchange will today review financial tech company Ant Group’s application for an Initial Public Offering (IPO).

Ant Group—backed by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba—currently stands as the most valuable billion-dollar unlisted technology firm in the world. Its IPO, expected to reach $30 billion at the high end of estimates, will likely be finalised by the end of October. Upon approval by Shanghai’s STAR Market listing committee, the company plans to list simultaneously on STAR Market and in Hong Kong in what could be the world’s largest IPO.

The IPO comes alongside a push by Ant to expand into global markets including in Europe and the US; in Europe, Alipay—the world’s largest mobile and online payments platform—has already tripled the number of merchants accepting its payment platforms. With escalating US-China trade tensions calling the stability of the Chinese economy into question, Ant Group’s decision to list in Shanghai rather than on the NASDAQ represents a win for China’s financial industry that could drive other technology firms to follow its lead in listing outside the US. Its offering also signals confidence in Hong Kong’s status as a stable financial hub, even at a time of upheaval following the passage of its controversial national security law.

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