The IPO of Alibaba’s Ant Group is to be stopped by Chinese President Xi Jinping

China’s President Xi Jinping has personally decided to stop the Ant Group’s $ 37 billion initial public offering, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing Chinese officials with knowledge of the matter.

The decision to stop the world’s largest public offering of all time came days after fintech giant’s billionaire founder Jack Ma launched a public assault on the country’s financial watchdogs and banks.

President Xi ordered Chinese regulators to investigate and effectively suspend Ant’s IPO report said.

Ant did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment. The State Council Information Office, China’s Cabinet, could not be reached immediately for comment.

At a summit in Shanghai on October 24th, Ma declared that the regulatory system would stifle innovation and would need to be reformed in order to stimulate growth. Earlier this month, Reuters reported that the speech sparked a chain of events that torpedoed Ant’s listing.

Shortly after Ma’s scathing speech, state regulators began producing reports, including one on how Ant had used digital finance products like Huabei, a virtual credit card service, to encourage poor and young people to build up debt.

The General Office of the State Council prepared a public opinion report on Ma’s speech and submitted it to high-ranking leaders, including President Xi, Reuters reported.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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