China’s President Xi Jinping personally decided to end the world’s largest-ever IPO after Ant Group’s founder and China’s second-richest man Jack Ma expressed his thoughts against the country’s innovation-stifling financial administration and banking system.
Fintech giant Ant Group was supposed to go public last Nov. 5, until founder Jack Ma aggravated Beijing officials. Thus, urging China’s President Xi Jinping to personally pull the plug on the record-breaking $37 billion initial public offerings (IPO).
As claimed by a Wall Street Journal report on Nov.13, quoting Chinese officials close to the matter—following billionaire Jack Ma’s criticism of the regulatory watchdogs, President Xi ordered Chinese regulators to investigate and shut down Ant Group’s stock market flotation.
Ant Group founder Ma appears to have drawn Beijing’s rage due to a speech he delivered on Oct. 24, at the “Second Bund Financial Summit” organized by the China Financial Forty Forum (CF40) and member institutions.
Speaking as the United Nations Digital Cooperation High-level Group co-chair, Ma told the summit in Shanghai that China’s regulation was stifling innovation and needed serious reform.
The fintech giant billionaire also praised digital currency and stated that the technology would redefine money in the same way that Apple has redefined phones and will likely be the core of the world’s future financial system.
Ant Group founder Jack Ma and the firm’s top executives were subsequently called into a meeting with People’s Bank of China (PBoC) and three financial regulators on Nov.2, the same day as China published new draft rules online micro-lending.
At the time, the CSRC would not give details of the discussion. Still, the meeting was attended by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, and foreign exchange regulators, who met with Ant Group’s controlling shareholder Jack Ma, Ant’s executive Eric Jin and it’s Chief Executive Simon Hu.
The following day on Nov.3, the Shanghai Stock Exchange in China released a statement stating,
“Decision on postponing the listing of Ant Technology Group Co., Ltd. on the Sci-Tech innovation board.”
The Ant Group was anticipated to be registered on Nov. 5, 2020, in what was destined to be the biggest IPO the world had ever seen at $37 billion.
As claimed by Reuters, immediately following the Ant Group founder’s speech, China’s regulators began to compile data on how Ant’s digital finance business model created debt with poor and young people.
A report on public sentiment about Jack Ma’s speech was also compiled by the State Council and submitted it to senior leaders, including President Xi Jinping himself—who then personally decided to ax Ant Group’s IPO.