According to Wall Street Journal, the incendiary comments made by Jack Ma a week before Ant was set to go public infuriated Xi Jinping and Chinese regulators.
Allegedly, the rebuke was as a result of the accumulation of years of tense relations between Tech billionaire, Jack Ma and a government uneasy about his influence and the rapid growth of the leviathan digital-payment service he controls.
Ma’s presumed speech attack on the Chinese financial service industry was read to President Xi who ordered Chinese regulators to investigate and all but shut down Ant’s IPO.
A few weeks ago, Ant Group listed its shares in the Hong Kong and Shanghai Stock Exchange Markets and had hopes to raise $34billion. Everyone thought this would be the world’s largest IPO overtaking the Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia Oil Co).
The IPO was surprisingly suspended just a few days to the day they were to go public, after regulatory meeting with Chinese regulator, Jack ma and other Ant Group executives.
The fintech company had already secured over $3trillion in orders from individual investors across the dual listings in Hong Kong and Shangai.
After the its suspension on November 3rd, Alibaba experienced a drop in share value by almost 10% as the news of its suspension had gone out in Hong Kong and the tech billionaire, Jack Ma, lost about $3billion.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Jinping himself has in the past shown low tolerance for big private businesses that have amassed capital and influence, but it is unclear whether Xi or another government official was the first to suggest suspending the IPO.
How this halt will affect the company, we are yet to see.