Approval given for Hong Kong leg

The Ant Group Co. logo and the Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. logo are displayed behind a reception desk at the company’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China, on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020.

Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

GUANGZHOU, China — Ant Group has won approval from the Chinese securities regulator for the Hong Kong leg of its initial public offering (IPO), moving it one step closer to listing, CNBC has confirmed.

The financial technology giant, which is 33% owned by Alibaba and controlled by billionaire Jack Ma, is seeking to list in Shanghai and Hong Kong in a concurrent IPO.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission has given the green light for the Hong Kong portion, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC. A hearing with the Hong Kong stock exchange, a key part of the approval process, will take place on Monday, the person said.

IFR first reported the news. Ant Group declined to comment to CNBC.

Ant Group’s IPO could be one of the biggest of all time. Reuters has previously reported that the company is looking to raise $35 billion. One analyst previously told CNBC that Ant’s valuation could be north of $200 billion.

The Chinese firm runs the massively popular Alipay mobile payments app in China which has over 700 million monthly active users. It also has various other financial products from insurance to wealth management. But a large part of its business model is selling financial technology products and generating technology service fees.

Ant Group’s IPO process has been pushing ahead despite a report that the U.S. is trying to get the company put on a trade blacklist called the Entity List, a move experts said would be “largely symbolic.”



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