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   Technology StocksAlibaba Group Holding Limited

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (713)7/8/2020 11:29:33 AM
From: Glenn Petersen
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Exclusive: Alibaba's Ant plans Hong Kong IPO, targets valuation over $200 billion, sources say

Julie Zhu
June 8, 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Ant Group, the fintech arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, plans a Hong Kong float as soon as this year and targets a valuation of more than $200 billion, said two sources with knowledge of the matter.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Ant Financial Services Group, Alibaba's financial affiliate, is pictured at its headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China January 24, 2018. Picture taken January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Shu Zhang/File Photo

The world’s most valuable tech “unicorn” had been looking to sell shares in Hong Kong and mainland China simultaneously, but is now leaning heavily towards the Asian financial hub first because it would probably face a smoother listing process, the sources and a third person with knowledge of the matter said.

It is looking at selling between 5% and 10% of its shares in an initial public offering, said one of the sources, in what would be one of the world’s biggest listings this year.

The company has been working with its advisers on the planned float in recent months, said the sources, who cautioned that details have yet to be finalized and are subject to change.

In response, Ant said the information about its IPO plans was incorrect. Alibaba did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The sources sought anonymity as the information was private.

Ant, based in China’s eastern city of Hangzhou, is 33% owned by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd ( BABA.N) ( 9988.HK) and is controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

Although valued at about $150 billion in its last funding round in 2018, small trades in the secondary market late last year gave it an implied valuation of $200 billion.

Ant is China’s dominant mobile payments company, offering loans, payments, insurance and asset management services via mobile apps.

However, recent years have seen it emphasise its technology prowess amid increased regulatory scrutiny of financial risk.

The company wants to be referred to in English as “Ant Group Co,” its spokeswoman said. It won regulatory approval in May to change its legal name in Chinese to Ant Technology Group Co.

Ant generated revenue of about 120 billion yuan ($17.10 billion) last year and almost 17 billion yuan in net profit, according to financial documents seen by Reuters.

Ant said the information was incorrect.

A Hong Kong listing of Ant - one of the world’s most hotly-anticipated IPOs - would be a boost to the city’s status as a global capital markets centre as its leaders come under fire for China’s imposition last month of a tough national security law.

This year, however, capital-raising has been helped by the broader tension between China and the United States, with several U.S.-listed Chinese firms planning secondary listings in Hong Kong to help establish an investor base closer to home.

In November, Alibaba itself raised $12.9 billion in a secondary listing.

Reporting by Julie Zhu; Additional reporting by Kane Wu; Editing by Jennifer Hughes and Clarence Fernandez

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From: Glenn Petersen7/20/2020 9:01:05 AM
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BABA owns 33% of Ant Financial.

Chinese fintech giant Ant to go public in dual Shanghai-Hong Kong IPO

Ryan Browne @RYAN_BROWNE_


-- Ant Group said Monday that it would list its shares on both the Shanghai stock exchange’s STAR board and the Hong Kong stock exchange.

-- The firm is best known as the parent company of Alipay, which alongside Tencent’s WeChat Pay has become wildly popular in China.

-- With a reported valuation of $150 billion, Ant’s listing could mark one of the biggest IPOs of 2020

Eric Jing, CEO of Ant Financial
Bobby Yip | Reuters

Chinese fintech firm Ant Group has begun the process of a concurrent initial public offering in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Ant, an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba, said Monday that it would list its shares on both the Shanghai stock exchange’s STAR — a Nasdaq-style tech board — and the Hong Kong stock exchange. The dual listing will help Ant “accelerate its goal of digitizing the service industry in China,” the company said.

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

Ant Group, formerly known as Ant Financial, did not disclose how much it was seeking to raise in the dual IPOs or when it would go public. Ant is best known as the firm behind the Alipay mobile wallet, which alongside Tencent’s WeChat Pay has become a wildly popular alternative to cash in China.

It is the world’s largest so-called “unicorn” company, with a reported valuation of $150 billion. The company’s listing could mark one of the biggest IPOs of 2020, in the face of a tough global economic environment caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The firm is reportedly seeking a $200 billion valuation.

Listing on the STAR board would mark a major win for China, which is looking to attract local tech stars to the mainland Chinese market. Last week, China’s biggest chipmaker SMIC debuted on the STAR market, seeing its shares more than triple in the first day of trading.

It also shows that Hong Kong may still be seen as an attractive option for companies, despite domestic and geopolitical tensions over the introduction of a new national security law in the special autonomous region last month.

—CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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From: Glenn Petersen7/29/2020 9:44:00 AM
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Chinese companies look to ride a new cross-border e-commerce wave driven by the coronavirus



-- “There is a trend towards more direct shipping out of China through digital cross-border shopping channels, which helps alleviate some of the downtrend in Chinese exports driven by the trade wars and increasing political tensions between China and other countries,” Suresh Dalai, senior director at consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal focusing on retail operations in Asia, said in an email.

-- Persistent uncertainty around U.S.-China trade tensions is also pushing Chinese businesses to look at different markets – and different platforms.

-- Chinese logistics companies such as Alibaba’s Cainiao are looking to ride this growth trend.

Containers and trucks at the port of Qingdao, China on February 14, 2019.

Some Chinese companies are tapping a new growth opportunity in online shopping amid trade tensions and the coronavirus pandemic.

While e-commerce has become a part of modern life around the world through giants such as Amazon and Alibaba, online shopping remains a fraction of overall retail sales. Even in China, where delivery has become integrated into urban life, online sales of physical goods still only account for about a quarter of overall retail sales, according to official data.

That portion is generally expected to increase, in China and worldwide. More businesses are also tapping e-commerce platforms to sell directly to consumers, rather than going through traditional store distribution systems.

“There is a trend towards more direct shipping out of China through digital cross-border shopping channels, which helps alleviate some of the downtrend in Chinese exports driven by the trade wars and increasing political tensions between China and other countries,” Suresh Dalai, senior director at consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal focusing on retail operations in Asia, said in an email.

“Evidence of this cross-border trend comes from the rise of cross-border shopping sites such as AliExpress,, and, and particularly in (Southeast) Asia,” he said.

In Southeast Asia alone, the internet economy for the region of 570 million people off the southeastern coast of China is expected to more than triple to $300 billion in gross merchandise value by 2025, according to an “e-Conomy SEA 2019” report from Google, Temasek and Bain.

That estimate came before the coronavirus pandemic, which has since accelerated demand for online shopping due to widespread stay-home orders.

Cross-border financial payments platform Payoneer saw volumes in May and June triple from a year ago, said general manager Eyal Moldovan.

“The phenomena of ecommerce and selling directly … (is) going to stay,” he said. “Chinese are becoming now the winners of it all, the Chinese sellers who were fast to adopt and continue to deliver the necessary goods and are adapting to the choice of the consumers that want to shop.”

For example, Chinese household and consumer goods chain Miniso said it’s kept to a plan to release 100 new products every seven days even as it has shifted much of its business online in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Even with the economic shock of the virus, American consumers are buying. What used to be typically $12 spend per customer at a physical store is now $60 to $70 in an online order, said Vincent Huang, vice president of Miniso’s international business department. That’s according to a CNBC translation of his Mandarin-language remarks.

“After the virus, we plan to expand, including offline,” he said, adding that the company has plans for a 20% to 30% retail price cut through improving supply chain efficiencies.

Most of Miniso’s suppliers are in China. The company said that at the end of 2019, it had more than 3,900 stores and a presence in over 70 countries and regions worldwide.

Impact of trade tensions

Chinese factories are also exploring “business-to-consumer” (B2C) sales on e-commerce platforms that bypass wholesale distributors to sell directly to individuals. Buyers can purchase a customized version of an item, while a factory can produce inventory as needed.

In addition, persistent uncertainty around U.S.-China trade tensions is pushing Chinese businesses to look at different markets – and different platforms.

Guangdong-based coffee machine company HiBrew started selling through AliExpress in July 2019, partly in an effort to reach the European market, according to HiBrew general manager Zeng Qiuping, based on a CNBC translation of his Mandarin-language remarks. Before that, he said the company’s primary market was the U.S., but tariffs made costs prohibitive.

The international trade environment is making “business-to-business” (B2B) wholesale selling more difficult, while better logistics networks let sellers reach more customers, he said. The majority of factories still need to rely on traditional wholesale supply chains to survive, Zeng said. “But B2C, a new consumption model, will continue to grow. It hasn’t reached the ceiling yet.”

Boost to logistics

The direct selling model is already growing within China.

Alibaba’s Taobao e-commerce platform launched a “Special Edition” in March focused on factories, many of whose commercial orders have been delayed or canceled as a result of the virus’ spread globally, according to Alibaba’s logistics arm Cainiao. An initial call for export-oriented businesses attracted 300,000 Chinese factories and 110 million orders, the company said. As of this month, at least 1.2 million factories have joined the platform, with sales rising sixfold between June and July, according to Cainiao.

Increased online shopping is spurring demand for delivery services:

-- Cainiao’s logistics services accounted for 4% of overall revenue in the first three months of the year, but was one of the fastest growing units at 28% growth year on year.

-- Germany’s DHL said operating profit rose 16% in the second quarter from a year ago to about 890 million euros. “Since end of March the company has recorded a positive development of shipment volumes driven by e-commerce, both internationally and in the German parcel business,” according to a July 7 release.Chinese courier company SF Express disclosed an 84.22% growth in operation volume from June 2019 to June 2020, from 374 million tickets to 689 million tickets.

-- “China’s logistics scale is the greatest,” Charles Guowen Wang, director at think tank China Development Institute, said in an interview last month, according to a CNBC translation of his Mandarin-language remarks. “If this pace can be maintained, the gap with international players will narrow.”

Need for tech

Several Chinese start-ups are looking to take advantage of these trends.

The virus has caused orders to fluctuate more and forced the digitalization of the logistics industry in order to improve efficiency, Mingming Huang, founding partner at Future Capital Discovery Fund, said in a statement, according to a CNBC translation.

“Future Capital believes that in the future, the best logistics company will definitely be a technology company,” Huang said.

The firm’s investments include Duckbill, which uses artificial intelligence to make truck dispatches more efficient, third-party logistics platform in Southeast Asia Inteluck, and Syrius Robotics, which sells services for warehousing and logistics automation.

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From: Paul Senior8/20/2020 6:34:13 PM
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"The Chinese e-commerce giant topped revenue and earnings expectations with its fiscal first-quarter report early Thursday, though its shares were off 1.6% in afternoon trading."

I'm in for a few more shares today.

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From: Glenn Petersen8/23/2020 11:52:56 PM
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Jack Ma’s Ant Group Produces $3.5 Billion Profit in Six Months as IPO Looms

Results show how lucrative the Chinese financial-technology giant’s business has been as it gears up for blockbuster offering

By Stella Yifan Xie
Wall Street Journal
Aug. 20, 2020 12:03 pm ET

HONG KONG—Ant Group Co., the Chinese financial-technology giant backed by billionaire Jack Ma, earned roughly $3.5 billion over a recent six-month period, showing how lucrative the company’s business has been as it gears up for a blockbuster initial public offering.

Financial results released Thursday by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., BABA 3.04% which owns a 33% stake in Ant, showed that the soon-to-be-listed company posted a profit of about 9.2 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) in the three months to March, and around 15.5 billion yuan ($2.2 billion) in the quarter ended December 2019.

Ant owns Alipay, a highly popular mobile-payments network that is used by more than 900 million people in China to spend money online and in physical stores, pay bills, take public transportation, and make big-ticket purchases. The company also provides a range of financial services to millions of businesses in the country. It supplies technology to financial institutions and other organizations, and sells financial products including mutual funds and insurance policies to scores of individuals.

The Hangzhou-based company, which was valued at $150 billion in a private fundraising round in June 2018, said last month that it is planning concurrent initial public offerings on stock exchanges in Hong Kong and Shanghai. The combined offerings could be among the largest in history, and would take place roughly six years after Alibaba’s own record-setting $25 billion IPO in New York.

Alibaba, which last year added a second listing in Hong Kong, reports financial results using U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, so its profit figures for Ant could differ from the results that Ant will disclose in its coming listing prospectus.

Ant is aiming for a market capitalization of more than $200 billion when it goes public, The Wall Street Journal previously reported. That would make it more valuable than Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and place it close to PayPal Inc., whose market capitalization was recently above $220 billion following a big share-price run-up this year.

The first quarter is usually a seasonally weaker period for Ant as business activity slows down around the country’s Chinese Lunar New Year holiday.

The three months to March 2020 included weeks in which many cities in China were under lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus across the country. During this period, many restaurants and businesses were closed and people were largely confined to their homes, and curbed spending as a result.

Still, Ant’s first-quarter profit was more than 500% higher than the same period a year ago, according to Alibaba’s filings. The companies didn’t provide reasons for the year-over-year surge.

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From: Julius Wong8/24/2020 2:28:27 PM
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Jack Ma's $200 billion Chinese fintech firm Ant Group could reportedly go public in October in a monster IPO. Here's how the company went from an ant-sized startup to PayPal rival.

* Ant Group, an affiliate fintech company of Chinese retail behemoth Alibaba, is gearing up to go public with an anticipated $200 billion valuation.
* The company was formed in 2014 to run Alipay, a ubiquitous digital payment service used by millions of Chinese shoppers.
* Here's what we know about Ant Group, whose IPO could catapult the fintech firm past the world's most established financial institutions, like Goldman Sachs.

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From: Julius Wong8/27/2020 7:30:44 AM
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What you need to know about unicorn Ant Financial, potentially the largest IPO in history

This “ant” is really an elephant.

Ant Financial, which rebranded itself to Ant Group in June in an apparent effort to stress tech over finance and ward off Chinese finance regulators, filed papers on Tuesday to go public in a dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

The offering could eclipse the $29 billion raised by Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering, which listed last December on that country’s local market. If Ant’s target numbers hold, it would become the new largest IPO in history.

That’s fitting of the world’s most valuable private tech unicorn, last valued at $150 billion in 2018 after a record $14 billon funding round. Now it’s targeting a public valuation of $225 billion.

So, what exactly does Ant do, and how did it become so valuable?

HANGZHOU, CHINA - JULY 21, 2020 - Ant Financial logo photographed at the hangzhou headquarters of Ant Group, the parent company of Alipay. Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, July 21, 2020. - PHOTOGRAPH BY Costfoto / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Before Alibaba’s $25 billion IPO in 2014 (the world’s largest until Saudi Aramco), Alibaba CEO Jack Ma spun out its payments division under the name Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group, later just Ant Financial Services Group. The obvious aim was to eventually bring Ant public on its own. Four years later, Alibaba took a 33% stake in Ant. Ant Group’s CEO is Alibaba alum Simon Hu, but Jack Ma is Ant’s largest shareholder. (In its IPO filing, Ant Group says its “origin and continued affiliation with Alibaba is a source of strength as well as purpose.”)

Ant’s core product is Alipay, the most popular digital payments app in China. It boasts a more than 50% share of China’s massive mobile payments market, the largest in the world. Experts don’t see the mobile payment revolution slowing any time soon, and Alipay is the global king in mobile payments. It also sells tech services to other Chinese financial and e-commerce businesses.

Alipay launched in 2004 and hit 1.2 billion users last year. Almost all of its growth has come in Asia, though Alipay has signed a slew of U.S. partnerships with chains like Walgreens ( WBA) and Neiman Marcus to let Alipay customers from China pay with Alipay when shopping in America. Last year, Alipay also opened up its app to American tourists in China — that was before the COVID-19 pandemic put a prolonged halt to global tourism.

Alipay users conduct more than 100 million mobile transactions on Alipay every day. The app’s biggest competitor in China is WeChat Pay, from Alibaba rival Tencent ( TCEHY).

And then there’s Yu’ebao, China’s largest money-market fund, with $170 billion in assets. Ant Group owns that, too. Ant sees itself as far more than a payments firm: its stated mission is “to make it easy to do business anywhere.”

Ant’s public offering will stand apart from the new unicorn IPO parade about to happen in America: Airbnb, DoorDash, Snowflake, and Palantir (via directing listing) are all aiming to go public by the end of this year — but none are profitable yet.

Ant Group, in contrast, is wildly profitable. In its IPO filing, it reveals $3.2 billion of profit in the first half of 2020 ($10.5 billion in revenue), reflecting year-over-year growth of 1,000%. And that eye-popping profit came during a global pandemic.

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From: Julius Wong10/10/2020 7:35:46 AM
   of 800
Chinese funds targeting Ant IPO draw $9B from millions of retail investors
Oct. 9, 2020 1:31 AM ET|About: Alibaba Group Holding Limited (BABA)|By: Jason Aycock, SA News Editor

Five new Chinese funds targeting the giant upcoming IPO of Ant Group (NYSE: BABA) sold out in days and have cumulatively raised 60B yuan - about $8.93B - from more than 10M retail investors.

An average of eight investors per second placed orders during the subscription period, Reuters notes, pointing to the frenzy for the listing even as the U.S. looks into restricting Ant Group's payment systems.

The five funds launched Sept. 25 to raise 12B yuan each and invest up to 10% of assets to buy Ant IPO shares. Two of the funds hit their fund-raising target even before a weeklong Chinese National Day holiday that began Oct. 1. Friday's resumption of business saw Alipay (Ant's online payment platform) announcing the other three funds were sold out.

Ant is looking to raise about $35B in a dual listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai - what could become the world's largest IPO and value the company at more than $250B.

The fund rush is a coup for Alipay, which acts as the sole third-party distributor of the five mutual funds, a model that looks to disrupt traditional fund sales.

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From: Glenn Petersen10/10/2020 8:15:28 AM
   of 800
Alibaba Stock Hits Record

Recent rally cements company’s position as one of the world’s most valuable technology companies

By Chong Koh Ping
Wall Street Journal
Oct. 9, 2020 5:46 am ET

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. BABA -0.27% ’s stock has hit a record high, as investor confidence builds that the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated China’s rapid embrace of online commerce, and as its financial affiliate Ant Group Inc. prepares to go public.

The recent rally has lifted Alibaba’s market value above $800 billion, cementing its position as one of the world’s most valuable technology companies and opening a gap between it and Tencent Holdings Ltd. TCEHY 1.98% , China’s other dominant tech group.

Its New York-traded American depositary receipts closed Thursday at a record $300.54. Those shares have jumped 42% this year, according to FactSet.

DBS Bank analyst Tam Tsz Wang said Alibaba’s shares were sluggish earlier this year when movement in much of China was severely restricted, and as it struggled to fulfill a surge in demand for goods bought online.

Still, the disruption helped Alibaba grow in smaller cities and in home delivery of everyday items such as fresh fruit and vegetables, he said. “We are starting to see some positive results in the third and fourth quarter due to the positive structural change that has happened,” Mr. Tam said.

In contrast, Mr. Tam said that while Tencent benefited immediately from the lockdown, investors now expect growth in its games business to moderate from the third quarter onward as people return to work and have less time to spend on games.

Carmen Lee, head of OCBC Investment Research, said the impending listing of Ant, in which Alibaba holds a 33% equity stake, had helped it outperform Tencent in the past month. Both companies are up by similar percentages year to date.

Ms. Lee said investors seem to have shrugged off concerns that U.S.-China tensions could hurt Ant’s listing. Alibaba’s stock kept climbing despite reports the Trump administration was exploring restrictions on Ant’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay over concerns that those payment platforms could threaten national security.

Disruption earlier in the year helped Alibaba grow in smaller cities and in home delivery of everyday items, an analyst said.PHOTO: GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
At an investor conference that ended Sept. 30, Alibaba said its cloud-computing business would turn profitable and its logistics arm, Cainiao, would have positive cash flow from operations in the financial year to March, further boosting its stock, said Chelsey Tam, a senior equity analyst at Morningstar.

"Generally, Alibaba’s management’s tone is about digitalization and how Covid has accelerated it,” she added, referring to Covid-19.

Alibaba shares also trade in Hong Kong, where they hit an intraday record of 293 Hong Kong dollars, the equivalent of US$37.81, on Friday. The stock later pared gains to close 1.2% lower at HK$286.20, slightly below last month’s record close of HK$291.20.

Write to Chong Koh Ping at

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in the October 10, 2020, print edition as 'Alibaba Shares Outshine Tencent.'

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From: Julius Wong10/21/2020 9:19:39 AM
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Jack Ma's Ant Group gets Chinese approval for Shanghai arm of $35B IPO

The Shanghai arm of Ant Group's (NYSE: BABA) potential record dual IPO has received approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

The $35B IPO, split between Hong Kong and Shanghai, would become the world's largest offering and would reportedly come with a $280B valuation, a figure that has been raised at least twice and that's triple the size of Citigroup.

With the Shanghai approval, Ant Group could move onto pricing the listing as early as next week.

The timing would put the pricing ahead of the U.S. election. The Justice Department has reportedly filed to put Ant Group on the trade blacklist.

Yesterday, Ant Group received final approval for its Hong Kong listing.

Retired Alibaba chairman Jack Ma holds the controlling stake of Ant Group, while Alibaba has a 33% non-controlling stake.

BABA shares are up 0.5% pre-market to $311.26.

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