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Ant IPO could go forward once issues are resolved

written by Bella Palmer

Ant is a payments provider through its digital payments service Alipay, but it is also a major lender, and that has drawn the attention of regulators

Payments provider Ant Group’s much-heralded initial public offering (IPO) could be back on.

A top Chinese central bank chief said Ant’s IPO could go forward once problems are resolved.

Bloomberg reported that People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang said regulatory agencies are, in relation to Ant, still looking into issues surrounding potential monopolies. Another issue, Yi said, was that of consumer privacy.

Speaking at a World Economic Forum panel, Yi said the matter was “complicated” and what was needed was a clear legal framework.

I would say that this is a process and also, once problems are resolved, Ant could get back on track, according to law, Yi said, per Bloomberg.

Ant is China’s behemoth payments provider through its digital payments service Alipay. But it is also a major Chinese lender, and that has attracted negative attention from regulators.

While Ant calls itself a financial technology company (FinTech), China’s financial regulators are starting to view it as being more like a bank.

Problems with regulators hit full force in November when the Shanghai Stock Exchange acted to delay Ant Group’s plan to go public. Ant is a spinoff from Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group.

At the time, Ant was worth an estimated $316 billion.

Since then some estimates of its worth have plummeted to $108 billion. That’s based on possible proposals from Chinese regulators to curb market concentration in the country’s online payments market.

Ma was reportedly out of the public eye for nearly three months, until he resurfaced last week to give an online speech to rural teachers in China.

Ma had seemingly dropped out of sight after his IPO was scrapped by Chinese regulators. This happened following a controversial speech he gave at a Shanghai financial forum in October.


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