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Financial Services

Jack Ma’s fintech firm is set for IPO, signalling prospects for Nigerian fintechs

Ant Group now operates Alipay which millions of shoppers use across Alibaba’s e-commerce networks.

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Jack Ma’s fintech firm is set for IPO, signalling prospects for Nigerian fintechs,

Ant Financial Services Group, the fintech subsidiary of Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group, is set for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on both the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Shanghai Stock Exchange’s STAR board.

The details

Announcing the development early Monday morning through a press statement that was published on its website, Ant Group said the concurrent IPO will “accelerate” its main goal of ensuring that China’s service industry eventually becomes digitised.

In the same vein, the IPO is also expected to help Ant Group to expand investments in technology and innovation, whilst partnering with investors to develop global markets.

READ ALSO: Fintechs to Drive CBN’s Financial Inclusion Target

Part of the press statement quoted Ant Group’s Executive Chairman, Eric Jing, to have said:

“The innovative measures implemented by SSE STAR market and the SEHK have opened the doors for global investors to access leading edge technology companies from the most dynamic economies in the world and for those companies to have greater access to the capital markets. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to play a part in this development.

“Becoming a public company will enhance transparency to our stakeholders, including customers, business partners, employees, shareholders and regulators. Through our commitment to serving the under-served, we make it possible for the whole of society to share our growth.”

READ ALSO: Financial Inclusion: Fintech firms got $400 million investment in 2019 – Emefiele 

What we know

Nairametrics understands that the planned IPO has long been eagerly anticipated by industry insiders. Ant Group now operates Alipay which millions of shoppers use across Alibaba’s e-commerce networks for payment purposes. With this IPO, investors stand a chance to co-own what is, undoubtedly, one of the biggest fintech firms in the entire world.

The backstory

In October 2014, Alipay was restructured/rebranded in such a way that it became overseen by Ant Financial Services Group. The following year, the company (i.e., Ant Group) raised a whopping $4.5 billion during a funding round that was backed by the likes of China Development Bank Capital, Primavera Capital Group, and China Investment Corp, etc.

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Since then, the company has made a number of acquisitions, including EyeVerify Inc which it bought in 2016. It has also successfully positioned itself as a major payment gateway in China’s e-commerce ecosystem, with Credit Suisse estimating that as much as 58% of the country’s massive online payment transactions go through the platform.

With this planned IPO, Ant Group will better position itself for greater exploits in the Chinese (and most likely) global fintech space.

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This presents prospects for African and specifically Nigerian fintechs

Although relatively small when compared to Ant Group, Nigerian fintech firms are increasingly building capacity and positioning themselves as major players in the country’s financial services sector. Interestingly, these fintech firms are also quite good at raising capital. In 2019 alone, African fintechs were responsible for an estimated $2 billion in VC fundings. A bulk of those funds come into Nigeria, which has arguably become Africa’s fintech capital.

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READ MORE: Explained: CBN’s powers to seize bank account of criminals

In view of the foregoing, therefore, perhaps an IPO is something Nigerian fintechs may want to consider taking advantage of. This will not only benefit them but also present new investment opportunities for Nigerian investors who are constantly on the lookout for viable investment opportunities.

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Emmanuel is a professional writer and business journalist, with interests covering Banking & Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Profiles, Brand Communication, Fintech, and MSMEs.He initially joined Nairametrics as an all-round Business Analyst, but later began focusing on and covering the financial services sector. He has also held various leadership roles, including Senior Editor, QAQC Lead, and Deputy Managing Editor.Emmanuel holds an M.Sc in International Relations from the University of Ibadan, graduating with Distinction. He also graduated with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from the Department of Philosophy & Logic, University of Ibadan.If you have a scoop for him, you may contact him via his email- [email protected] You may also contact him through various social media platforms, preferably LinkedIn and Twitter.

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