Citing an official statement, China's state-run Global Times daily said on Monday that the officials from the People's Bank of China and other departments summoned Jack Ma Yun and other executives of Ant Group for talks over regulations.
The shock move comes after China’s regulators warned that Jack Ma’s firm faces increased scrutiny and will be subject to the same restrictions on capital and leverage as banks.
Jack Ma, founder of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, and his senior executives were summoned on Monday by Chinese regulators for talks, just days ahead of the world’s biggest initial public offer of USD 39.7 billion shares of the group’s subsidiary – the Ant Group.
Citing an official statement, China’s state-run Global Times daily said on Monday that the officials from the People’s Bank of China and other departments summoned Jack Ma Yun and other executives of Ant Group for talks over regulations. “Further details weren’t immediately available,” it said.
“Management group at Ant Group said the Fintech giant will continue to innovate, welcome supervision and serve the real economy, after it was summoned by the top financial regulatory authority on Monday,” it said.
Four Chinese regulatory bodies, led by the People’s Bank of China, held a meeting with the top executives of Ant Group, days before shares of the fintech company are due to make their trading debut in Shanghai and Hong Kong stated to be the world’s biggest initial public offer.
Jack Ma, China’s iconic billionaire and founder of the e-commerce of giant Alibaba, retired last year as the company’s executive chairman marking the end of an era for his firm in the Communist country.
Born to a poor family, Jack Ma, who is most revered businessmen among Chinese people, grew up to China’s richest man.
The regulators on Monday met with Ant Group’s co-founder Jack Ma, executive chairman Eric Jing and chief executive Simon Hu, without elaborating on the purpose or content of the meeting, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post owned by Jack Ma reported.
Ant Group’s shares are due to commence trading simultaneously in Shanghai and Hong Kong on November 5 in a USD 39.67 billion stock sale after allotment, which has broken all records as the largest fundraising in global finance.
The first dual listing of its kind on the two exchanges soaked up more than USD three trillion from retail investors, setting off frenzied bids for the shares of Ant Group, the Post reported.
A record 19.05 trillion yuan (USD 2.85 trillion) of bids were received from retail investors for Ant’s shares on Shanghai’s Star Market, exceeding the supply of shares by 870 times.
In Hong Kong, 1.55 million retail investors, or about one-fifth of the city’s population, poured in HKD 1.3 trillion (USD 167.7 billion) for the shares when the book closed at noon on Friday, overbidding by 389 times, the report said.
Monday’s meeting also included representatives from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, the China Securities Regulatory Commission and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) the currency regulator.
“Ant Group will implement the meeting opinions in depth, and continue to follow the guidelines of ‘stable innovation, embracing supervision, service to the real economy and openness for mutual benefit,’ in order to continuously improve the ability of inclusive service, and assist the development of the economy and people’s livelihood,” said a statement by the Hangzhou-based fintech company, an affiliate Alibaba Group Holding.
Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba, owns 8 per cent of Ant Group’s shares, with 50 per cent of the voting rights. The National Social Security Fund (NSSF), China’s 2.63 trillion yuan pension state pension scheme has been a strategic investor in Ant Group since 2015 and remains a cornerstone investor in the fintech company, the Post reported.