Jack Ma, controlling shareholder of Ant Group, in 2019. Photo by Bloomberg.

Jack Ma’s Ant Group Delays IPO as Beijing’s Tech Crackdown Goes On

Photo: Jack Ma, controlling shareholder of Ant Group, in 2019. Photo by Bloomberg.

When Chinese regulators canceled Ant Group’s $37 billion initial public offering in late 2020, the question was how long the financial services behemoth, which was then valued on paper at more than $300 billion, would stay in regulatory purgatory.

The answer remains elusive: Bankers who last fall talked to the Chinese company about a possible Hong Kong–based stock listing in the second half of 2022 or early 2023 say that an IPO is now off the table amid Beijing’s continued crackdown on the country’s tech sector. The weakness of publicly traded Chinese tech stocks including Alibaba also has made it difficult for Ant and its stakeholders, which include a who’s who of U.S. firms such as Silver Lake and BlackRock, to figure out when Ant could go public.

Ant’s holding pattern also has cast a shadow over other potential listings by privately held Chinese tech firms including TikTok owner ByteDance and Xiaohongshu, a high-profile commerce app.

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