Business

Ant Group's IPO is "the biggest in historical past," mentioned Alibaba's Jack Ma

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Wang Dingchang | Xinhua | Getty Images

The mammoth double listing for the Chinese fintech giant Ant Group will be the largest in the world according to a pricing set on Friday evening, Alibaba founder Jack Ma said on Saturday.

"It is the first time that prices for such a large listing – the largest in human history – have been set outside of New York City," he said at the Bund Summit in Shanghai's eastern financial center.

"We didn't dare think about it five or even three years ago. But a miracle just happened," he told the audience, which included officials from Chinese regulators.

He did not provide full details of the prices, which are expected to be officially announced next week.

With the support of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Ant plans to be listed in Hong Kong and on the STAR market in Shanghai at the same time in the coming weeks.

According to sources, the listing could be valued at $ 35 billion, breaking the record set by Saudi Aramco last December at $ 29.4 billion.

Ma said the financial and regulatory system is hindering innovation and is calling for an overhaul to extend technology-based financial services to more small businesses and individuals – an ethos on which Ant is largely based.

He said the global system established after World War II was outdated and too risk averse. He called the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision "an old man's club" and warned that risks are piling up across the economy.

In China, banks continue to operate with a strong "pawnshop" mentality, demanding collateral and guarantees before lending, a model that will not fuel future growth, he said.

Instead, he said that a new, inclusive and universal banking system should be put in place, lending to small businesses and individuals based on big data.

Ant, which has an extensive payment and microcredit business based largely on big data, has received increasing scrutiny from regulators.

"Today's financial system is the legacy of the industrial age," Ma said. "We have to create a new one for the next generation and young people. We have to reform the current system."

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Steven Gregory