Billionaire Jack Ma’s payment and financial technology company Ant Group has filed for an initial public offering in Hong Kong and Shanghai, marking the first steps toward the behemoth’s blockbuster share sales.
The IPO is expected to be the world’s largest offering, beating that of Saudi Aramco last year.
The company said in the filing on 25 August that the sale would be used to “further pursue [their] vision to digitalise the service industry” as well as bolster cross-border payments and boost its research and development capabilities, including recruiting and retaining talent. It did not specify a share price range or the amount to be raised in the highly-anticipated IPO.
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Its listing prospectus also reported a profit of 21.9bn Chinese yuan ($3.2bn) and total revenues of 72.5bn yuan in the first six months of the year. Hangzhou-headquartered Ant operates Alipay, its flagship service and mobile payments app, which it says has a billion users.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the company’s valuation has shot up since it was launched six years ago. In 2015, it was valued at around $45bn in a domestic fundraising round and the following year at $60bn. In 2018, Ant raised $14bn in private capital from domestic and global investors, valuing it at around $150bn.
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