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China funds targeting Ant IPO rake in 60b yuan from over 10m investors

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An average of eight investors placed orders each second during the subscription period, highlighting retail frenzy over Ant's IPO despite possible US sanctions against the fintech giant.

Shanghai

FIVE newly launched Chinese funds targeting Ant Group's upcoming mega stock listing raised 60 billion yuan (S$12.1 billion)) cumulatively from more than 10 million retail investors, selling out within days, the funds' distributor said.

An average of eight investors placed orders each second during the subscription period, highlighting retail frenzy over Ant's initial public offering (IPO) despite possible US sanctions against the Chinese fintech giant.

The rush also underscores the marketing clout of Ant's online payment platform Alipay, the sole third-party distributor of the five mutual funds that threatens to disrupt traditional fund sales models.

Ant, Alibaba Group's fintech arm, aims to raise about US$35 billion in a dual listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai's Star Market, expected in October, in what could become the world's largest IPO.

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The five funds launched on Sept 25 to raise 12 billion yuan each and invest up to 10 per cent of their assets to buy Ant's IPO shares as strategic investors.

Two of the funds, launched by E Fund Management and Penghua Fund Management, hit their fundraising target even before the week-long Chinese National Day holiday that began on Oct 1.

As business resumed on Friday, Alipay announced that the other three funds, managed by China Asset Management (ChinaAMC), China Universal Asset Management and Zhong Ou Asset Management, were also sold out.

The market has so far brushed aside worries that Ant's IPO could suffer from any US restrictions, after a Bloomberg News report saying that Trump administration officials are considering curbs on Ant and Tencent over concerns that their payment platforms threaten national security.

The successful fund sales could give a boost to Ant's rapidly growing wealth management business. Revenue from this business segment jumped 56 per cent during the first half of 2020, and Ant's fintech platform has facilitated investments worth over four trillion yuan. REUTERS

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