Ant Group

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Ant Group
Ant group logo 600x312 (1).jpg
Founded 2014
Headquarters Hangzhou, China
Key People Eric Xiandong Jing, Executive Chairman
Products Global tech firm
Website https://www.antgroup.com/en/about

Ant Group is a Chinese technology company and global financial services firm. It was formally established in October 2014 and traces its origins back to Alipay, which launched in 2004.[1]

Ant views itself as a technology-solutions provider that connects individuals and small businesses with banks, asset managers and other financial-services providers. Alipay sits between individuals and businesses and facilitates a range of financial transactions. [2]


History

Ant grew out of an online escrow service called Alipay that was created in 2004 within the online retailer Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. It was founded by Jack Ma, Alibaba’s co-founder and then-chief executive. Ma retired from Alibaba in 2019, but he remained Ant’s controlling shareholder with slightly more than 50% of its voting rights. Ant’s name is meant to reflect the company’s goal of serving individuals and small businesses that were shut out by many large Chinese financial institutions.

Ant operates Alipay, a lifestyle and payments app with more than one billion users in mainland China. The majority of Alipay's transactions occur in China. It grew quickly and now handles more transactions annually than Mastercard and Visa. According to data from Bloomberg, by November 2020 Alipay had 711,000,000 monthly users. [3][4][5]

Ant Group had planned a major public offering in November 2020 that was expected to raise an estimated $34.4 billion, but it was ultimately blocked by Chinese regulators. Just prior to the IPO, on November 2, 2020, the Chinese government had put out draft rules to more tightly regulate the country's growing number of microlenders, who had not been subject to China's traditional banking regulations.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange suspended Ant’s plans to list its IPO on November 3, 2020, saying a meeting called by Chinese regulators and changes in the financial technology regulatory environment meant Ant might not be in compliance with listing rules. Ant Group then pulled its Hong Kong listing.

The mega IPO would have been split between the Shanghai and Hong Kong exchanges, with the company issuing 1.67 billion shares at each exchange. Investors in the IPO were surprised by the abrupt cancellation -- the offering was oversubscribed and orders worth an estimated $3 trillion were received in advance. Ant Group was expected to make another attempt at an IPO after it changed its prospectus in light of China's new rules. [6] [7][8] [9]

Products and Services

Alipay’s mobile app has multiple functions besides payments. Users of the app can use shop on Taobao, an online marketplace run by Alibaba, invest in mutual funds, buy insurance policies, keep track of utility bills, borrow money and find deals from local businesses.[10]

Ant has a leading edge in mobile payment technology, one of the few areas of technology where China is ahead of the West.[11]

Key People

  • Eric Xiandong Jing, Executive Chairman
  • Simon Xiaoming Hue, Chief Executive Officer
  • Xingjun Ni, Chief Technology Officer


References

  1. Ant Group: About Us. Ant Group.
  2. Inside Ant, the Company Behind the World’s Biggest IPO. WSJ.com.
  3. Inside Ant, the Company Behind the World’s Biggest IPO. WSJ.com.
  4. How China Put the Brakes on Ant’s IPO. Bloomberg.com.
  5. Why China Changed the Rules on Jack Ma’s Ant Group. Bloomberg.com.
  6. Suspended Ant IPO Shows Growing Regulatory Focus on Fintech Giant. WSJ.com.
  7. Ant Group to raise $34.5 billion, valuing it at over $313 billion, in biggest IPO of all time. CNBC.com.
  8. How China Put the Brakes on Ant’s IPO. Bloomberg.com.
  9. Ant Group IPO faces at least 6-month delay after Beijing intervention. Financial Times.
  10. Alipay. Alipay.com.
  11. How Jack Ma’s Ant Group Went From Business Disrupter to Chinese Tech Champion. The Wall Street Journal.