China's securities regulator says no assessment pending on Ant IPO
Published: Jun 09, 2022 10:17 PM
Photo taken on Oct. 26, 2020 shows Ant Group logo on the buildings of Hangzhou headquarters in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province. (VCG)

Photo taken on Oct. 26, 2020 shows Ant Group logo on the buildings of Hangzhou headquarters in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province. (VCG)

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said on Thursday that it is not assessing or studying the potential revival of Ant Group's IPO, in response to media reports claiming that the agency has set up teams to review the fintech firm's listing plan. 

But in a brief statement on its website, the CSRC stressed that it supports platform enterprises that meet the criteria to list at home or abroad.

Ant Group also said in a post on its WeChat account on Thursday that it does not have any IPO plans now and is "focused on steadily moving forward with our rectification work" under the guidance of regulators. 

Following the CSRC's statement, Alibaba's share prices slumped over 5 percent in US pre-market trading on Thursday, after edging up nearly 7 percent. 

Bloomberg reported earlier on Thursday that Chinese authorities were also "nearing the final stage of issuing Ant Group a long-awaited license that would clear the path for its IPO and make the firm be regulated more like a bank." 

Analysts said that the priority for Ant is to complete rectification work as planned, which some industry predict could be near an end. As more internet platforms operate in compliance with the law, regular supervision will be the main way to set legal boundaries, which will promote the healthy and sustainable development of various economic models, analysts noted. 

The CSRC's comment about supporting platform enterprises also came after Chinese officials reaffirmed support for the platform economy in recent months, sending positive signals to the tech industry, which had been under almost two years of strict regulatory scrutiny.

"We have seen concrete efforts [from Chinese authorities] on encouraging the listing of platform firms. The CSRC's response is in line with those moves and further demonstrates authorities' attitude on the tech industry: to encourage, support and guide," Wang Peng, an assistant professor at the Gaoling School of Artificial Intelligence at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Industry insiders said the CSRC's comments send another clear signal that the authorities will support internet firms to embark on a new stage of development, and make the private economy play a more active role in shoring up the growth of the world's second-largest economy amid rising downward pressure.

China's tech shares made an across-the-board rebound in the past few days, as positive signals from authorities kept fueling optimism in the market. 

Global Times