Monday 20 July 2020 11:51 am

Ant Financial to float in dual Shanghai-Hong Kong listing

Alibaba’s payments arm Ant Financial has started the process of a concurrent initial public offering in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

The world’s most valuable tech unicorn said it would list its shares on both the Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style Star Market and the Hong Kong stock exchange.

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In a statement Ant Financial, which provides the digital payment service Alipay, said the listings will “help the company accelerate its goal of digitising the service industry in China and driving domestic demand”.

“Becoming a public company will enhance transparency to our stakeholders, including customers, business partners, employees, shareholders and regulators. Through our commitment to serving the under-served, we make it possible for the whole of society to share our growth,” executive chairman Eric Jing said.

Ant did not disclose how much it was seeking to raise in the float or when it was looking to go public. In 2018 the firm was valued at $150bn in a 2018 fundraising round.

It could become the world’s biggest public offerings since the outbreak of coronavirus and one of the largest floats ever of an Asian company.

“The innovative measures implemented by SSE STAR market and the SEHK have opened the doors for global investors to access leading edge technology companies from the most dynamic economies in the world and for those companies to have greater access to the capital markets,” said Jing.

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Alipay is the world’s biggest payments provider, overtaking PayPal, and accounts for the majority of Chinese payments. Its services include providing payments for e-commerce sites and a digital wallet app.

It was originally launched in 2004 as part of technology giant Alibaba, before it was spun off in 2014.

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