Are we about to see the world’s largest stock market debut?

Chinese billionaire and founder of Alibaba Jack Ma, has announced that his fintech mobile payments firm Ant Group, will float on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges.

An international operator of a cloud-based financial platform designed to provide cloud computing services to financial enterprises and payment/financial services to consumers, Ant Group (through its Alipay platform) offers mobile payment processing services, consumer loans, wealth management, credit rating services and a financial services cloud platform.

The significance of the flotation is highlighted by the news that it could raise between £23-26bn – meaning that it could become the largest stock market debut in history. Currently, the record debut is held by oil giant Saudi Aramco, whose IPO in December 2019 raised £19.5bn.

Should the listing go ahead, the value of the company could hit £169bn.

The group is 33%-owned by Alibaba and in the first half of this year reported a 40% year-on-year rise in revenues to £8bn. The company’s profits, as a result, were 12 times higher than the same period in 2019.

The Ant Group’s stock market filing revealed the firm collected 72.5bn yuan ($10.5bn) in revenue in the first half of the year, up nearly 40% on the same period in 2019. Profits were nearly 12 times greater at 21.9bn yuan, underlining how the firm had benefited from the coronavirus lockdown.