Daily Management Review

Record number of tech IPOs cancelled due to campaign against Alibaba founder


The Financial Times estimates that Chinese fintech companies have been abandoning their IPOs en masse following the scandalous cancellation of fintech company Ant Group's IPO. Ant Group is a division of internet giant Alibaba of Chinese multibillionaire Jack Ma and owns China's largest payment service, Alipay.

SHUWK Mimoah
SHUWK Mimoah
Last November, Ant Group was preparing for an initial public offering on the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges. It was expected to raise about $35 billion in investment in the offering, and the company itself would be valued at $200 billion, which would make it the largest IPO in history. However, just a couple of days before the float, regulators called Jack Ma in for questioning and the Ant Group flotation was indefinitely postponed. 

Regulators then launched an antitrust investigation into Alibaba Group itself, and Jack Ma stopped appearing in public for a while, which even raised fears for his fate. According to Western media reports, the decision to halt the world's largest IPO and launch an antitrust investigation was backed by the same person - Chinese President Xi Jinping, who did not like that Jack Ma had repeatedly criticised the Chinese authorities.

According to the Financial Times, Chinese technology companies have cancelled more than 180 of their IPOs since these events, a record for such a short period. In March alone there were 76 cancellations - twice as many as the month before. Notably, the IPO cancellations come in the wake of China's Star Market exchange for technology companies, launched in July 2019. Its creation was China's response to the trade war with the US - the Shanghai Stock Exchange, which launched the Star Market, positioned the platform as a response to the US technology exchange NASDAQ.

source: ft.com