When regulators suspended the high profile initial public offering (IPO) of the Chinese fintech company Ant Group, investors and businesspeople were surprised and unsettled. The offering was halted just two days before the planned listing, after Ant had received routine regulatory approvals. Ant Group leadership needed to understand what the government’s expectations were and how to reposition the company to move forward and build on its powerful brand and business model, to maintain success in the absence of an immediate IPO.
- To examine the forces driving the business model of a major Chinese fintech platform. In particular, to explore how fintech companies can grow by filling gaps in traditional financial service offerings. To investigate how a business model changes over time to react to technological developments, customer needs, and government expectations.
- To understand the effects of regulation on financial and technology companies, especially in China. To provide students with an understanding of the interplay between business and government in China, and the tension between the government’s desire to see private companies contribute to the economy and its desire to maintain control.
- To explore differences in public offering processes and listing requirements on different exchanges, the reasons behind these differences, and the factors companies consider as they choose a listing venue. To discuss the implications of the growing practice of cross-country listings, such as Chinese companies listing overseas.
- To gain insight into the risks of private investment in a fast-changing, uncertain environment, illustrated by the unclear position of private equity investors who backed Ant’s later fundraising rounds expecting a 2020 IPO.