Ant Group: How the Largest IPO in History Came to a Halt
Ant Group ( ) was on course to raise HKD273bn in a dual offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (SEHK) and the Shanghai Stock Exchange's (SSE) STAR Market. Pre-IPO, Ant's value as a fintech was estimated at HKD2.43tn. As investors were subscribing en masse, China's central bank and finance regulators published a new draft legislation to regulate "micro-lending business operated by internet." What would have been the largest IPO in history was cancelled just two days before its scheduled listing on 5 November 2020. Ant spun off from its parent, Alibaba. It owns Alipay, one of the two largest digital payment systems in China. Ant diversified into a fintech business that included lending, wealth management, and insurance business lines among others. Ant's lucrative lending business, explosive growth, and business model disrupted the Chinese traditional finance industry. After the new legislation came into effect, Ant's capital reserve ratio for its CreditTech business would have to increase from the current 2% to 30%. This was expected to impact the size and growth of its lending business and therefore its value.