China’s central bank says Ant’s IPO suspension will safeguard consumer, investor interests

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The decision to suspend Ant Group’s planned initial public offering in China was based on a comprehensive consideration about safeguarding the interests of financial consumers and investors, a senior central bank official said on Friday.

China halted the $37 billion listing on Tuesday, thwarting the world’s largest stock market debut with just days to go in a dramatic blow to the financial technology and online consumer lending firm founded by billionaire Jack Ma.

The move comes amid broader efforts by Chinese policymakers to prevent systemic financial risks and curb rising debt. It has thrown the company and its investors into a tailspin and its executives are now racing to satisfy tighter regulations.

“The decision was made in accordance with laws and regulations… and about maintaining stable, healthy market development in the long term,” Liu Guoqiang, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), told reporters.

At the media briefing, Liang Tao, vice chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), echoed Liu’s view.

“The CBIRC also supports this decision made by the Shanghai Stock Exchange,” Liang said. “Any listed company must comply with the requirements of relevant laws and regulations.”

The remarks from Liang and Liu were the first public comments from the two regulators on Ant’s IPO suspension.

Ant was set to make its market debut in Hong Kong and Shanghai on Thursday.

Liang also said CBIRC hopes all business entities would “remain in compliance with laws and regulations when doing business with and cooperating” with Ant.

“We encourage the financial sector to explore reasonable innovation while put risks under control,” Liang told reporters.

“At the same time, we will regulate fintech in accordance with its nature of finance, and include all financial activities into the regulatory framework.”

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.