Ant Group and its advisers are getting creative as they attempt to score the world’s largest initial public offering amid a coronavirus pandemic as well as a first-of-its-kind simultaneous listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Known for upending the financial industry across China with its easy-to-use payments app Alipay, the unicorn is now bringing its innovative culture to bear on capital-markets challenges such as meshing together the regulatory timetables and securities’ settlement cycles of two exchanges.
These are ultimately logistical and technical problems for Ant to crack or plan around as it steadily moves forward with its jumbo IPO. China’s regulators remain keen to help a national technology champion secure funding for growth, and investors are clamouring to own its shares.
Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.
Ant’s solutions to the problems it encounters will smooth the path for other Chinese companies looking to tap mainland investors via Shanghai’s fledgling Star Market, and international investors on Hong Kong’s stock exchange.
An employee sits in front of a mural at the Ant Group headquarters in Hangzhou, China. Photo: Bloomberg alt=An employee sits in front of a mural at the Ant Group headquarters in Hangzhou, China. Photo: Bloomberg
The coronavirus pandemic has forced a sea change in how companies conduct capital raising globally this year. Ant’s IPO, given its size, will take the digitisation of deals to a new level.
While Ant’s management and advisers will be able to meet in person with several mainland Chinese investors, given that infection numbers have plummeted from levels seen earlier this year, overseas travel is impractical, people familiar with the process said.
Instead, Ant and its advisers plan to embark on a digital roadshow, speaking over video with international investors. Ant will be