(Singapore, July 20, 2020) Billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Group has started its much-anticipated initial public offering, with plans to list simultaneously in Hong Kong and on China’s new tech bourse in Shanghai, Bloomberg has reported.

The parent of China’s largest mobile payment company is marching toward what could be one of the largest listings seen in years.

It was valued at US$150 billion in its last funding round. Ant will pursue a dual-listing in Hong Kong and the Shanghai stock exchange’s Star board, the Hangzhou-based company said in an emailed statement.

The crown jewel of the sprawling Alibaba empire, Ant has been accelerating its evolution into an online mall for everything from loans and travel services to food delivery, in a bid to claw back shoppers lost to Tencent Holdings.

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The company’s Chief Executive Officer Simon Hu wants people to just think of Alipay as more than just a niche provider of financial services and the payments gateway for the world’s biggest e-commerce platform. Alipay now caters to a wide array of consumer needs from groceries to wealth management, and hotel booking to loan applications.

Ant generated US$2 billion in profit in the fourth quarter, based on calculations made from Alibaba’s filing. The company’s goal is to derive more than 80 per cent of revenue from local merchants and finance firms in five years via so-called technology services fees, up from about 50% at the end of 2019. The contribution from proprietary services, such as Ant’s own money market fund and loans, would shrink as a result.

Those technology solutions would include services in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain and risk control. Ant aims to assist banks to dole out loans to consumers, and partner with brands like KFC Holding and Marriott International to attract and manage customers.