Ant Group, also known as “Ant Financial,” has been considering a Hong Kong IPO at a valuation of $200 billion, according to a report from Reuters. Ant is an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding (NYSE:BABA)—China’s top e-commerce and cloud computing company. Notably, Ant is the name behind Alipay, which is a popular mobile payment app in China and parts of Asia. Snapchat investor Tencent runs WeChat Pay, which Walmart has adopted at its Chinese stores.
Alibaba owns a 33% stake in Ant, whose operations span lending, asset management, insurance, and payments.
Ant Group is under the control of Alibaba’s founder and former executive chairman, Jack Ma. Amid the Ant Group’s Hong Kong IPO plans, Jack Ma has seen a huge boost to his wealth this year. According to Bloomberg’s billionaire ranking, Jack Ma has added $5.3 billion to his net worth this year for a total of $52 billion.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has added $68 billion to his net worth this year for a total of $183 billion. Alibaba and Amazon are fierce competitors in e-commerce and cloud computing. Also, Alibaba battles Amazon in the fintech space through its Ant Group affiliate. Alibaba shares have risen 21% this year, while Amazon shares have risen 67%.
Ant’s Hong Kong IPO plans follow a growing trend
Ant’s Hong Kong IPO plans emerge just as Chinese companies seek to move closer to home. Last month, Chinese companies JD.com (NASDAQ:JD) and NetEase (NASDAQ:NTES) completed the secondary listing of their shares in Hong Kong. They raised nearly $7.0 billion combined to shore up their liquidity during the coronavirus pandemic. NetEase planned to deploy its Hong Kong IPO funds toward international expansion. JD.com planned to invest its Hong Kong IPO funds on advanced supply chain technologies.
NetEase and JD.com followed in Alibaba’s footsteps with their Hong listings. Last year, Alibaba raised nearly $13 billion through a secondarily listing of its stock in Hong Kong.
Notably, Ant’s Hong Kong IPO plans this year show Alibaba downplaying the crisis in the city over China’s national security law.
Sina might delist
As Alibaba’s Ant mulls the Hong Kong IPO, Sina (NASDAQ:SINA) has been considering a delisting option. Sina is a Chinese social media company. Sina’s chairman and CEO, Charles Chao, wants to take the company private through his New Wave entity. Taking the company private would delist the stock from the US exchange. Baidu is another Chinese technology company that has considered delisting its stock from the Nasdaq exchange.