Tighter regulations dent but won’t derail Ant Group, e-commerce giants – Pensions & Investments

Tighter regulations dent but won’t derail Ant Group, e-commerce giants – Pensions & Investments

Moves this month by China’s regulators to abruptly block e-payments and internet finance giant Ant Group’s record $35 billion initial public offering, while tightening oversight of e-commerce firms, are adding a considerable element of uncertainty for investors heavily exposed to the mainland’s high-flying technology firms.

Despite the near-term risks, investors continue to see long-term opportunity in owning platform companies such as Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd., Tencent Group Holding Ltd., JD.com Inc., Meituan and — if and when it takes a second bite of the IPO apple — Ant Group.

A spokesman for Hangzhou-based Ant Group declined to comment on the firm’s listing plans. With regulators clamping down on online lending, a business that accounted for roughly two-fifths of Ant’s first half revenues, analysts say the company’s online wealth management and asset management business — at less than a sixth of its revenues — would assume a higher profile should Ant come to market again anytime soon.

For now, Ant’s IPO fireworks “haven’t helped overall sentiment” but “we still have a fairly positive view on these new economy stocks going forward” and any sell-off could prove a good opportunity to pick up their shares, said Ken Wong, a Hong Kong-based Asian equity portfolio specialist with Eastspring Investments (Singapore) Ltd.

The prospect of a shorter regulatory leash helped pare back solid year-to-date gains by firms such as Ant affiliate Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Group Holding Ltd., although heady progress on the coronavirus vaccine front — which could end the
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