The Wall Street Journal quoted Chinese officials on Thursday and reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping personally decided to terminate Ant Financial’s US$37 billion (approximately Rs 276.2 crore) initial public offering.
A few days after Jack Ma, the billionaire founder of the financial technology giant, launched a public attack on China’s financial regulators and banks, he decided to stop what was once the world’s largest IPO.
The report said that Chairman Xi Jinping ordered Chinese regulators to investigate and effectively close the listing of Ant Financial.
Ant did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment. The State Council Information Office (State Council of China) cannot be contacted immediately for comment.
Jack Ma said at a summit held in Shanghai on October 24 that the regulatory system is stifling innovation and must be reformed to promote growth. Earlier this month, Reuters reported that the speech triggered a series of incidents that disrupted the listing of Ant.
Soon after Jack Ma’s stern speech, national regulators began to write reports, including a report on how Ant used digital financial products such as the virtual credit card service provider Huabei to encourage the poor and young people to increase their debt.
According to Reuters, the General Office of the State Council has compiled a public sentiment report on Ma Yun’s speech and submitted it to Xi Jinping’s top leaders.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
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