Ant Financial reportedly preparing to IPO on Shanghai tech board

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Alibaba’s financial arm Ant Financial is reportedly preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) on China’s new Nasdaq-style equity board, said state-owned media on Monday citing a delegate from the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

The delegate, who oversees a local equity firm backing Ant Financial, said the company is working on going public on the new Shanghai technology board, but may miss the first batch of listings. The delegate asked not to be named.

CPPCC is the country’s political advisory body and consists of delegates from a range of political parties and organizations, including corporate executives from real estate and technology sectors. Baidu’s Robin Li, Ding Lei from NetEase, and Richard Liu from JD are all members.

A company spokesman from Ant Financial told TechNode on Monday that it currently has no timetable for an IPO. Still, the company is paying close attention to the Science and Technology Innovation Board, as it “will be a major development for China’s capital markets.”

Chinese securities regulators are accelerating the launch of the country’s first Nasdaq-style equity board, which is considered one of the greatest system innovations in the country’s financial sector. Besides Ant Financial, a number of Chinese tech unicorns are reportedly being approached by the Shanghai government, including media firm Bytedance and Lufax, one of the country’s largest lending service platforms.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange released in January a set of finalized standard guidelines for companies looking to list on the new board. Chinese top securities regulator Yi Huiman later told Chinese media that the first batch of IPO applications will soon be able to file.

Rumors of an Ant Financial IPO have circulated several times over the years, including a possible plan for a Strategic Emerging Board, the predecessor of the upcoming new tech board. The Chinese government later abandoned these plans with no formal announcement in early 2016, partly due to the volatility in domestic stock markets.