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經濟學人:馬雲被約談,螞蟻暫緩上市(1)

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Regulators v Ant Group

監管者 V 螞蟻集團

Ant agonises

熱鍋上的螞蟻

The world's biggest IPO is now the world's biggest suspended IPO

世界上最大的IPO現在是世界上最大的暫緩IPO

Jack Ma was in a triumphant mood shortly after Ant Group, his Chinese fintech firm, priced its initial public offering—set to be the world's biggest ever, with almost $40bn worth of shares sold. Speaking at a summit in Shanghai on October 24th, he chided regulators for being too focused on preventing financial risks. Red tape, he said, only held up innovation. Ten days later his words came back to haunt him. Less than 48 hours before its stock was to begin trading in Hong Kong and Shanghai, Ant was forced by Chinese regulators to halt the flotation.

就在馬雲旗下的中國金融科技公司“螞蟻集團”首次公開募股確定發行價後不久,馬雲情緒高漲。螞蟻集團發行的股票價值近400億美元,將成為全球有史以來規模最大的IPO。10月24日在上海的一次峯會上,他指責監管機構過於關注防範金融風險。他説,繁文縟節只會阻礙創新。10天后,他的話再次令他困擾。就在螞蟻金服在香港和上海上市不到48小時前,中國監管機構迫使螞蟻金服暫緩上市。

The group said in a regulatory notice to the Hong Kong exchange that the IPO, scheduled for November 5th, had been suspended because the company "may not meet listing qualifications or disclosure requirements", after the regulator conducted an interview with Mr Ma and other executives. The filings also mentioned "recent changes in the fintech regulatory environment", hinting that newly published rules may have got in the way. The sudden suspension also suggests that some powerful officials may be displeased with Mr Ma, a self-made man who, by the conservative standards of big business in China, has an outspoken streak.

該集團在一份提交給香港交易所的監管通知中表示,原定於11月5日進行的首次公開募股已被暫緩,原因是該公司“可能不符合上市條件或披露要求”。此前監管機構對馬和其他高管進行了約談。這些文件還提到了“近期金融科技監管環境的變化”,暗示新公佈的規則可能造成了阻礙。突然的暫緩也表明一些有權有勢的官員可能對馬感到不滿。按照中國大企業的保守標準,馬是一個白手起家的人,直言不諱。

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Yet the turn of events is not just painful for Ant. It reflects poorly on China's regulators. IPOS are rarely stopped at such a late stage. The deal was more than 800 times oversubscribed in Shanghai, and in Hong Kong last week the firm closed its book a day early. It was set to float in Shanghai on the star Market, China's answer to Nasdaq, designed to lure home Chinese tech groups that have listed abroad. Instead, the last-minute halt of Ant's listing highlights the opacity of the Chinese political system and the risks that can trip up even its most successful companies.

然而,事態的轉變痛苦的不只是“螞蟻”,這反映的是中國監管機構的糟糕表現。IPOS很少會在如此晚的階段停止。該交易在上海獲得了800多倍的超額認購,而在香港,該公司上週提前一天收市。公司計劃在上海的星空市場上市,目的是吸引已在海外上市的中國科技企業回國。相反,螞蟻金服在最後一刻暫緩上市,突顯出中國政治體系的不透明以及即便是最成功的企業也可能遭遇的風險。

It is also easily the most public, and most disruptive, of Ant's run-ins with regulators. The company has consistently adjusted its business as the rules around it have shifted. The IPO debacle appears to be partly related to one such case. Back in 2018 officials placed caps on asset-backed securitisation, upending Ant's model of selling its loans on to banks. So it pioneered a new approach: consumers and merchants borrowed through Alipay, its payments service, on their sMartphones, but the money came from banks. Ant was simply the conduit, collecting a "technology-service fee". This conduit business boomed, with credit growing to outstrip payments as Ant's biggest source of revenue.

這也很容易成為螞蟻金服與監管機構之間最公開、最具破壞性的衝突。隨着周圍規則的變化,該公司不斷調整其業務。IPO的失敗似乎在一定程度上與此類事件有關。早在2018年,官員們就對資產支持證券化設置了上限,顛覆了螞蟻金服向銀行出售貸款的模式。因此,它開創了一種新的方式:消費者和商户通過其智能手機上的支付服務支付寶借款,但資金來自銀行。螞蟻金服只是一個渠道,收取“技術服務費”。隨着信貸的增長超過支付成為螞蟻金服最大的收入來源,這一中轉業務逐漸興隆起來。

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