Ant Group, the online payment provider for China-based Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., is seeking a record return of at least $35 billion as it goes public in the Hong Kong and Shanghai markets, sources told Bloomberg News.
The Hangzhou-based conglomerate has raised its initial public offering (IPO) target to $250 billion, up from $225 billion.
If the IPO is successful, it could make it the biggest ever.
Earlier this year, state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco set the previous record of $29.4 billion.
On Friday (Sept. 18), Shanghai regulators approved Ant Group’s request to proceed with its IPO share sale. The company has requested a hearing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange to reach the next step, sources told the news outlet.
Ant Group declined to comment in an emailed statement.
The company operates the Alipay payments app, where it gets most of its revenue from consumer loans. It also operates money market funds and sells insurance, along with providing credit scores and tech services to companies operating in the finance industry.
According to the company, Alipay has 711 million users per month, mostly in China, with customers using the app to pay for everything from coffee to real estate. It has generated $17 trillion in payments for the year through June.
The news comes as Ant Group gained profits of $1.3 billion in the first fiscal year quarter, marking a rise of 560 percent over the same period one year ago. It contributed $433.7 million in earnings to Alibaba Group, which owns one-third of Ant.
Last fall, new regulations forced the Jack Ma-backed Ant Group to comply with regulations to back up any payments, lending or other finances with substantial capital, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The new rules from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) say that firms operating two or more financial businesses in China will be classified as financial holding companies and must apply for a license. The PBOC will require all financial holding companies and other Chinese businesses whose financial assets or loans comprise 85 percent or more of their total assets to register and have paid-up capital totaling at least five billion yuan ($731 million).