Hong Kong Fintech Race: Alibaba prepares a record IPO, SC launches Mox

Rise of the fintech industry in Hong Kong is not just a talk of the town, it’s an ongoing operation with rather high stakes and high speeds. This week, reports came with breaking news that Ant Group, the financial arm of Jack Ma’s e-com giant Alibaba, is eyeing what could become the biggest IPO in history: a dual listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai’s STAR Market, looking to raise as much as $35 billion.

Interestingly, it is said that Ant Group won’t be seeking so-called cornerstone investors to increase credibility and confidence. 

Reuters reported on Friday that managers have already started raising as much as a combined 60 billion yuan in five funds that will eventually participate in the Ant IPO as strategic investors, with a lock-up period of 18 months. Ant’s advertisement promoting the newly-launched mutual funds drew more than 3 million clicks on the Alipay app.

Alibaba’s intervention into the fintech space is supported by its status of the biggest blockchain patent holder in 2020. According to the latest study, the tech giant moved the usual leader in this field, Bank of America, and managed to outpace IBM by 10 times the number of patents. 

Another financial colossus added a new bright spot to Hong Kong’s fintech map this week. Standard Chartered Bank launched Mox, its new virtual bank, created in partnership with PCCW, HKT and trip.com and ensuring retail services in a completely digital manner. High tech solution enjoys an in-house development: Asia’s first ‘all-in-one’ bank card and app are described as “the next generation of banking” in Hong Kong, with a cloud-based resilient infrastructure and development cycles, both of which were built from the ground up. 

Mox has joined a family of eight Hong Kong’s virtual banks. Along with Ping An OneConnect, WeLab, Ant Bank and others, the new generation of banks were green-lighted and supported by HKMA to promote innovation, digitalisation and fintech development.