Ant Group’s world-record-beating IPO will lift the fortune of China internet heavyweight Jack Ma by $27 billion and create at least 18 other billionaires, according to pricing announced by the company today for its upcoming planned dual listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Ma’s Ant stake, added to other holdings that include Alibaba Group, would leave his fortune at an estimated $68 billion. That makes the former English teacher China’s wealthiest man as well as the world’s 12th richest after Google cofounder Sergey Brin, according to the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List.
The nearly $35 billion IPO underscores China’s growing clout in that fast-growing field of online finance. It also highlights the country’s ascent in international capital markets at a time when Chinese authorities are promoting listings to help boost key technology industries such as semiconductors and close a gap with the United States.
The large number of new mainland billionaires also underscores China’s–and Asia’s–immense wealth resources. China, the world’s No. 2 economy, is home to the world’s largest number of billionaires after the United States. Among the new Chinese billionaires to be created through Ant’s offering price include Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang, whose Ant stake is worth $1.5 billion.
The listing comes against a backdrop of U.S. and China acrimony ahead of the American presidential election on Nov. 3. Chinese companies with U.S. listings including Alibaba and NetEase have made secondary listings in Hong Kong in the past year amid Trump administration threats to delist from U.S. exchanges any Chinese company that fails to meet American accounting standards.
Chinese companies in search of higher valuations at home compared with the U.S. had already been shifting listings over the past several years. That group that includes solar panel supplier Trina, advertising giant Focus Media and medical equipment maker Mindray.