China’s first internet-only insurer, ZhongAn Online Property and Casualty Insurance, has received approval from the Hong Kong stock exchange for its planned initial public offering (IPO).
The IPO would be the biggest by a FinTech company in the city, which wants to encourage more new listings of so-called new economy start-ups.
With direct knowledge of the IPO, Reuters citing sources reported that the IPO could raise in excess of US$1bn and the insurer plans to launch the IPO and take orders from investors as early as 18 September. The sources could not be identified as the details are not public as yet.
Zhong An was founded in November 2013 by Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma, Tencent Chairman Pony Ma and Ping An Insurance Group Co of China Chairman Ma Mingzhe.
Its major shareholders include two of China’s largest internet companies; Alibaba Group’s Ant Financial affiliate with 16 percent, and Tencent Holdings with 12.1 percent. Ping An holds 12.1 percent, according to ZhongAn’s prospectus.
ZhongAn is among several Chinese FinTech companies tapping investors to fund expansion as consumers move more of their banking, payments, investing and insurance online.
In 2016, the world’s most-valuable fintech company, Ant Financial, raised $4.5bn. This was one of the largest funding rounds for a private internet company, while peer-to-peer lending and wealth management platform Lufax raised $1.2bn and JD Finance, the finance subsidiary of online direct sales firm JD.com (JD.O), raised $1bn.