By Guoli Chen
In emerging markets or nascent industries, plan-as-you-go has proved to be a winner many times over.
Cross the river by feeling the rocks. – Chinese proverb
When Alibaba Group went public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on 18 September 2014, CEO Jack Ma said of the record-setting US$25 billion IPO: “What we raised today is not money, it’s trust.” Six years on, investors remain loyal to the e-commerce giant – Alibaba’s stock is trading at four times its opening price on the NYSE. But the company’s faith in its future in the United States has been shaken by recent heightened tension between Washington and Beijing.
This sets the stage for the listing of Ant Group, an Alibaba spin-off that has evolved into the world’s largest fintech company. What is shaping up to be the mother of all stock market debuts, eclipsing even Alibaba’s, will take place in October in Hong Kong and Shanghai, not Wall Street.
In eschewing the established NYSE for the HKSE and Shanghai Stock Exchange’s fledgling, Nasdaq-like STAR market, Ant Group – which changed its name from Ant Financial Services Group in July – is sticking to a strategy that has served Alibaba well. That is, adapt like hell to a dynamic environment with many moving parts instead of following a game plan that worked