Ant Group, the online payment service affiliate of China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, is looking to go public as early as this year, Reuters reported.
If the IPO moves ahead, one of the sources said it would be one of the world’s biggest listings this year.
The news service reports that the world’s most valuable tech “unicorn” had been looking to sell shares in Hong Kong and mainland China simultaneously, according to sources. Now, they are initially leaning toward the Asian financial hub because it would likely entail a smoother listing.
The company is seeking to raise its valuation to more than $200 billion by selling between 5 percent and 10 percent of its shares in the IPO, the report said.
Ant Group was launched in 2014 to provide global financial services. Based in Hangzhou, China, the company operates Alipay, an online payment service that debuted in 2004 and has evolved into the world’s largest payment and lifestyle platform, the company said.
In January, Ant began discussions with banks to resurrect plans for an IPO that was shelved over a year ago due to regulatory and profitability issues. The Chinese financial services company was valued at $150 billion in a 2018 fundraising round. At the time, Credit Suisse and China International Capital Corp. were reportedly in talks with Ant to lay the groundwork.
Last month, the company once known as Ant Financial Services Group won approval from Chinese regulators to drop the word “financial” from its name, so now it is called Ant Group. The Alibaba affiliate decided its name was due for an overhaul as the big FinTech began attracting growing scrutiny from China’s financial watchdogs. As Ant Financial Services, the company said it found its ambitious growth plans to be hampered by efforts of Chinese financial regulators to keep its expansion in check.