Chinese financial regulators have started early stage talks on a potential revival of Ant Group’s initial public offering (IPO), Bloomberg News reported on Thursday night. However, regarding this news, China Securities Regulatory Commission replied through its official website that “there is no evaluation or research work on this case, but qualified platform enterprises to list at home and abroad is supported.” Ant Group then also issued an announcement stating that it is focusing on the implementation of rectification work under the guidance of regulatory authorities, and currently has no plans to launch an IPO.
On November 2, 2020, several Ant group executives, including Jack Ma, the controller of Ant Group, Eric Jing, the chairman, and Simon Hu, the president, were summoned and interviewed by four Chinese departments. The next day, the Shanghai Stock Exchange and HKEx suspended the listing of Ant Group on their exchanges before the company itself announced throug the HKEx that its H shares were also postponed.
On June 1 of this year, Ant Group updated the information of the board team in its official website, and newly added Yang Xiaolei and Laura Cha as independent directors. The latter has attracted some public attention. According to the HKEx, Laura Cha is currently chairing Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing Limited, and is a member of the Executive Council of the Government of Hong Kong. She was appointed as the Vice Chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission by the State Council in January 2001, and returned to Hong Kong after leaving office in September 2004.
In addition, Ant Group released its latest 2021 Sustainable Development Report on June 1. Eric Jing, chairman and CEO of Ant Group, said in the report that the company decided to “fully introduce the ESG framework, upgrade the company’s sustainable development governance system, and lead its value creation and stability.”
Previously, on May 26, Alibaba’s financial report for fiscal year 2022 (April 2021 to March 2022) indirectly disclosed Ant Group’s profit in 2021. It disclosed that the investment income received by Alibaba from Ant Group in fiscal year 2022 was 24.084 billion yuan. The net profit of Ant Group in 2021 increased by about 20% compared with the previous year.