China said to be probing how Ant Group got speedy approvals for its IPO last year

Jack Ma. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

China is investigating how Ant Group founder Jack Ma got speedy approvals for the company’s stock listing last year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

The central-government investigation, which started early this year, focuses on “regulators who greenlighted the initial public offering, local officials who advocated it and big state firms that stood to gain from it”, according to the report.

Ma’s relationships with these “state stalwarts” are also being examined as part of the investigation, the report said.

China has already imposed a sweeping restructuring on Ant Group, the fintech conglomerate whose record $37 billion IPO was derailed by regulators in November, underscoring Beijing’s determination to rein in its internet giants.

The overhaul, directed by China’s central bank, subjects Ant to tougher regulatory oversight and capital requirements and requires it to cut links between its hugely popular payments app Alipay and its other businesses.

Ant Group, the payment affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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.