What is Ant Group?
As the financial arm of the e-commerce giant Alibaba, Ant Group provides an array of payment and financial services to more than 700 million monthly users. The company processes trillions of dollars every year and facilitates loans to consumers and small businesses that may not qualify for funds from China’s largest banks. Like other gargantuan tech companies, the service functions as an all-in-one platform with a host of functions — users can spend, save and invest, as well as use it like a credit or debit card.
In the 12 months ended in June, the company said it processed $17 trillion in digital payments in mainland China, taking in $18 billion in revenue and profits of $2.7 billion.
What is fintech?
Financial technology or “fintech” comprises an ecosystem of start-ups and traditional banking companies that are using the convenience and connectivity of the consumer Internet to make financial transactions easier, cheaper and more accessible for people around the world. Fintech companies offer traditional banking services, such as loans and wealth management, as well as other forms of financial assistance, such as tax preparation or securing deposits for a new rental. Compared with legacy banks, with their bricks-and-mortar stores and reputation for services shrouded in dense legalese, fintech companies tout innovation and the seamlessness of making payments and doing business with the ease of a smartphone app.
Other players in this space include the San Francisco-based companies Square (merchant services and mobile payments) and Prosper (personal loans), and Shopify (retail sales management), which has its headquarters in Ottawa.
What does it mean that the largest IPO is coming out of China?
The sheer scale of the IPO and of Ant Group’s valuation highlights the comparative size of China’s titans of industry, and the nation’s financial firepower. With an anticipated valuation north of $313 billion, Ant Group would exceed the size of such legacy U.S. financial brands as JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo.
“It’s the first time that the pricing of such a big listing — the largest in human history — has been determined outside New York City,” Alibaba founder Jack Ma said this weekend during a business summit, according to CNBC. “We didn’t dare to think about it five years ago or even three years ago,” he said.
Where will Ant Group be listed?
Ant Group’s IPO will bypass American stock exchanges and soon begin trading in two markets: Hong Kong and Shanghai. The company aims to raise more than $17 billion on each index, with individual shares priced at roughly $10.30.
Which companies had the biggest IPOs?
Ant Group is poised to overtake the IPO record held by Saudi Aramco, the oil company that underpins Saudi Arabia’s economy. The long-awaited listing that partially privatized the company was seen as a bid to lower the kingdom’s dependence on the sale of fossil fuel. Through the IPO, Saudi Aramco raised $29.4 billion and was valued at $1.7 trillion.
Rounding out the Top 5 IPOs are: Alibaba Group Holding, which raised $25 billion in 2014; Agricultural Bank of China ($22.1 billion in 2010); and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China ($21.9 billion in 2006).
Ma, who has an 8.8 percent stake in the company, is poised to gain $27.4 billion from the IPO, according to Bloomberg News, bringing his net worth to $71.6 billion. That would lift him to 11th on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, above Oracle’s Larry Ellison and individual members of the Walton family, who made their fortune on Walmart.