BUSINESS

Ant Group Exec Tells Workers Firm to Go Public as State Regulators Slam ‘Insufficient’ Data Sharing

An internal post from a top executive responded to concerns from an employee over the company’s future and talent retention strategy, and comes after major challenges following the suspension of a historic public listing in November last year.

Ant Group has promised to go public to help employees monetise shares, company chairman Eric Jing said in an internal website post as cited by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Tuesday.

Jing said the company was reviewing its remuneration and incentive policies via a “short-term liquidity solution” set to go into force in April, the report read, citing people who had read the post.

Chinese paramilitary police march past China's central bank, the People's Bank of China, in Beijing, Saturday, March 12, 2016

Ant Group will likely buy back employee shares, the report read, citing the sources.

The news comes after the firm’s operations were restructured as a financial holding company after its historic initial public offering (IPO) was halted due to concerns from Chinese regulators in November.

“The company will certainly become a public company. I’m always fully confident in that,” Jing wrote in the internal post, adding the firm would prioritise complying with Chinese authorities.

He added company founder Jack Ma had been in close talks with regulators over the restructuring plans, including corporate governance and others, according to people familiar with the post.

“Ant will not be weakened by the rectification, but will chart a healthier and greater development path,” he reportedly said.

The IPO suspension had been a “major test and challenge” to staff, he added as cited by the WSJ.

“In the space of a second, the Ant team went from IPO preparation to major emergency response, calmly dealing with many unimaginable difficulties,” he added as quoted by the report.

Jack Ma during the Final Session of the International Discussion Club Valdai

Chinese Regulators Suspend Record £37bn Ant Group Hong Kong IPO Listing, Citing Concerns

Mr. Jing said the company will advance its development strategy as it restructures and makes adjustments to its business this year, and will provide more details in due course.

Chinese State Regulators Respond To Ant Group Row

But according to the Financial Times, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) found data provided by the fintech firm had been insufficient, citing people familiar with the matter.

Tencent
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The report added Chinese regulators saw a lack of detail in reports provided on the company’s operations as well as the frequency of delivery, citing the sources.

The news comes amid a major crackdown on Chinese big tech firms, namely after Ant Group’s historic $37bn IPO was halted in November last year by state authorities following the criticism Jack Ma voiced at an event in October the same period.

Tencent Holdings later vowed to cooperate with regulators following the Ant Group crackdown and amid soaring profits in the COVID-19 pandemic.

A top executive Zhang Feng was detained in February for an ongoing corruption probe involving data sharing with local authorities, the WSJ reported in February, citing people familiar with the matter.

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