BEIJING, Oct 26 — Chinese e-payments giant Ant Group said today it plans to raise US$34 billion in a joint Asian listing, making it the biggest IPO in history.
The cash raised from the split float between Hong Kong and Shanghai would be far more than the US$29 billion chalked up by Saudi Aramco in December.
The financial arm of Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba, Ant Group runs Alipay, the dominant online payment system in China, where cash, cheques and credit cards have long been eclipsed by e-payment devices and apps.
According to statements released by Ant Group, the e-payments behemoth aims to sell 1.67 billion shares each at HK$80 (US$10.30) in Hong Kong from tomorrow.
A further 1.67 billion shares will be sold in Shanghai at 68.80 yuan (US$10.30).
The total sale would therefore exceed US$34 bn, and could be close to US$40 bn if over-allotment options are taken up.
The securities will begin trading on November 5.
Ant claims an annual transaction volume exceeding 118 trillion yuan, with more than 700 million monthly active users.
Its entry into Shanghai and Hong Kong comes after Beijing called on national flagships of the technology sector to list on domestic stock exchanges, in a period of sharp economic and political rivalry with the US.
Jack Ma, the billionaire founder of Alibaba, noted the significance of such a large offering happening in two Chinese cities.
“This was the first time such a big listing, the largest in human history, was priced outside New York City,” he told the Bund Summit in Shanghai on Saturday, in comments reported by Bloomberg.
“We wouldn’t have dared to think about it five years, or even three years ago,” added Ma, who stepped down as Alibaba’s executive chairman last year. — AFP