[The Epoch Times, June 8, 2022]Since listing in 2020 was blocked,AntThe group and Jack Ma almost disappeared from the public eye. Seeing that the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is approaching, at the time of the CCP’s various swords and swords, the Ant Group, which was called off from the IPO, made sudden moves, and the board members changed greatly. In Ant’s list of independent directors. What signals are these changes sending to the market?
In addition, on the 3rd, Li Daokui, a well-known Chinese economist, attended an investment forum, during which he revealedAntThe reason why the group’s IPO was blocked by Zhongnanhai, what is going on? At a time when the outside world is concerned about whether ants can return to the arena, ants have already recruited troops in Singapore. Is it possible that ants also want to find Singapore?”money box“? In the face of the massive flight of capital, the authorities said they were rightInternet technologyThe supervision of the company has ended, has the CCP really compromised?
Jack Ma’s “Guardian with a Knife” quits the board and joins the Iron Lady of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange
Recently, there has been a major change in the Ant Group board of directors, and things have come a bit suddenly.As can be seen from the official website of Ant Group, two new ladies have been added to the board of directors, one is the chairman of the Hong Kong Stock ExchangeSmileyJianghu people called “Iron Lady”; the other is Yang Xiaolei, an independent director of Hengfeng Bank.
It is worth noting that Jiang Fang, known as Jack Ma’s “guardian with a knife”, no longer serves as a non-executive director of Ant Group, and Hu Zuliu, founder of Chunhua Capital, no longer serves as an independent director of Ant Group.
Regarding the changes of Ant’s board of directors, including Jiang Fang’s withdrawal, some analysts believe that the CCP forced back private entrepreneurs and took over Ant from Jack Ma.
In addition, Ant’s major adjustment of the independent director this time, especiallySmileyThe addition of , has also caused speculation in the capital market.
In addition to focusing on Shi Meilun’s identity as the chairman of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the media also mentioned her other previous role, the former vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission.
In 2001, Shi Meilun was recognized by the then Premier Zhu Rongji of the State Council of the Communist Party of China and served as the vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission. She is also the first Hong Konger to become a vice-ministerial official of the CCP.
During her tenure, China’s securities market unleashed an unprecedented regulatory storm.
In Shi Meilun’s first year in office, the China Securities Regulatory Commission issued dozens of regulations, punishing or investigating more than 80 listed companies and more than 10 intermediaries, including the Yinguangxia case, the Zhongke Entrepreneurship case, and the Yian case. Technology case, etc. Some media said that this year was the “regulatory year” for China’s stock market, and as a result, Shi Meilun received the title of “Iron Lady”.
However, at that time, the capital market in mainland China was full of chaos, and such regulation would inevitably lead to controversy and dissatisfaction from interest groups. In the three years of Shi Meilun’s tenure, A-shares also experienced a bear market of “endless falling” for three years.
In the past few days, after the news of Ant spread, Shi Meilun’s background experience was turned over again by everyone. However, her career is much more than that. Let’s take a look at what Shi Meilun has done before?
From 1991 to 2000, Shi Meilun worked at the Hong Kong Securities Regulatory Commission. In fact, Shi Meilun is the “pusher” behind the first batch of Chinese-funded companies to go to Hong Kong to list H-shares. In 1993, she personally took charge of Tsingtao Brewery as the first H-share listed in Hong Kong, which also opened the prelude to the listing of Chinese-funded enterprises in Hong Kong.
In addition to serving in the SFC in China and Hong Kong, Shi Meilun was the chairman of the Hong Kong Financial Services Development Council, a director and non-executive vice chairman of HSBC in Hong Kong, an independent non-executive director of China Telecom, and an independent director of Baosteel, a Chinese state-owned enterprise.
It can be seen that it is not difficult to understand that such a role spanning the capital markets of China and Hong Kong can be included in Ant’s list of independent directors today. Shi Meilun can not only gain the official trust of the CCP, but also play a regulatory role. It is not ruled out that it is also a reassurance for Chinese and foreign investors. With her influence, it will pave the way for Ant to continue listing in the future.
Let’s take a look at Yang Xiaolei, a lawyer. She is the current independent director of Hengfeng Bank. She was a lawyer of China International Trust and Investment Corporation, which is now a subsidiary of CITIC Group, a partner of CITIC Law Firm, a partner of Jingtian & Gongcheng Law Firm, and a partner of King & Wood Mallesons.
As we all know, before and after the explosion of Hengfeng Bank, many problems have been disclosed one after another. There have been constant violations and scandals at the top of the bank, and corruption is very serious. In 2021, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission approved Yang Xiaolei to serve as an independent director of Hengfeng Bank to exercise a supervisory role. Therefore, at present, Yang Xiaolei’s joining Ant is likely to be the official meaning.
Let’s go back to Ant Group again. Previously, after Ant was called off from its IPO, it was accused by the CCP’s financial regulators of having four major crimes including “improper corporate management”. In the face of strong supervision, Ant Group has narrowed down financial businesses such as financing and investment and started self-examination.
In early March of this year, Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, said that although the self-inspection work of Ants has basically ended, the rectification work has not ended.
From this point of view, the addition of Shi Meilun and Yang Xiaolei, on the one hand, has a strong sense of supervision, which also shows that the supervision of the authorities is still ongoing; By now, it should be almost what the CCP wants.
After understanding these backgrounds, you may guess, is Ant ready to go public again?
Is the game between the Chinese Communist Party and the elite capital over?
From the current market information, it seems that things are moving in this direction. However, looking back on the Ant incident, the most impressive thing to the outside world is that after Ant was called off from the IPO, the Wall Street Journal published an article revealing that the grandson of former CCP leader Jiang Zemin Jiang Zhicheng and Li Botan, son-in-law of former CCP Politburo Standing Committee member Jia Qinglin, and other members of the red family, these powerful capital are secret investors of Ant.
Some analysts believe that the interest group investing in Ant involves the Jiang faction of the CCP, which may be the deep reason why Xi Jinping continues to purge Jack Ma and the Ant Group controlled by him.
A few days ago, CCP economist Li Daokui mentioned again at an investment forum that the reason why Ant Group was suspended on the eve of its listing was because many CCP government officials and relatives were involved, resulting in “a lot of damage.” political influence”, and even the candidates for party secretary in some cities are involved, adding that “this will really scare the leaders at the top.”
It is worth noting that he also mentioned that after the 20th National Congress, “no matter who is the leader”, without sustained economic growth and prosperity, all long-term goals cannot be achieved.
He also said that now that the influence of Internet companies on Chinese politics has “returned to zero”, the authorities haveInternet technologyThe regulatory storm for companies is over, and these companies will be revalued.
We have seen that there are so many interest groups behind Ant. Whether it can go public or not is not a simple issue of capital and supervision. The impact of political factors behind it is the key.
However, Ant Group suddenly changed directors at this juncture before the 20th National Congress, and economists suggested that the influence of Internet companies on politics “returned to zero”, which seems to mean that Xi Jinping and the bigwigs in the CCP have completed the Distribution and balance of power.
Chinese private enterprises looking for overseasmoney box,haven
Regardless of how the CCP’s 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is vying for the position and the balance of power, the CCP’s mandatory supervision has really scared China’s upstarts. We have seen that these companies are increasingly eager to seek safe havens overseas.
Therefore, Ant is no exception. Although it is regulated by the CCP in mainland China, it has not stopped the pace of overseas expansion. On June 6, a Bloomberg article said that Ant launched a digital bank in Singapore.
Earlier in April, Ant posted about 20 Singapore jobs on its LinkedIn page for positions ranging from credit management to marketing to legal counsel for digital banks. At the time, it was reported that Ant Group had employed about 300 people in the garden city.
It is worth noting that not only Ant Group, but also Caixin.com recently reported that Singapore is becoming a “money box” and “safe haven” for China’s richest people. Four of the top ten richest people in Singapore are new immigrants from mainland China. . They brought not only wealth but also business.
For example, Chinese game companies such as Tencent, ByteDance, and Youzu Network have all set up branches or regional headquarters in Singapore. It seems that recruiting talents will not happen overnight.
However, this may be a red flag for the Chinese authorities. After the CCP’s purging of private enterprises, Hong Kong’s “money bag” has become increasingly shy, while Singapore, not far away, is enjoying its success. Watching the pie falling from the sky and smashing into other people’s pots, it is conceivable that the feeling in the heart of the CCP is really unpleasant.
Therefore, the CCP authorities still have trouble sleeping and sleeping. Not only do they have to wonder who the capital ran away with, but also worry about whether the capital that has run away can come back? For example, this time, will the unchained Ant Group be listed in Hong Kong? Or, is Singapore another option for Ant Group?
After Ant Group sent a signal to the market, on June 6, there was news that Chinese regulators would end their investigation of Didi, not only to lift the ban on new users, but also to restore relevant apps to the mainland. The Hang Seng Index of Hong Kong stocks rose 571 points on the same day, the Hang Seng Index rose 4.6% for the whole day, and Alibaba rose 5%. Didi’s U.S. stock market rose more than 50% in premarket trading.
It seems that there are also things that the CCP is afraid of. At least for now, it does not dare to let Hong Kong’s capital market dry up again. Therefore, at this time, there is no choice but to compromise. The fickle CCP interest group, not only within the party, but also different factions will reach compromises for the sake of interests. In the process of increasingly hostile relations with the United States, in order to preserve interests, it is likely that they will also make compromises with the United States in the financial field. However, in the face of defenseless Chinese people, the CCP will never compromise.
Institute of Financial and Commercial Economics
Planning: Yu Wenming
Written by: Li Yuxin
Consultant: Li Tingqian
Editor: Wei Ran, Yu Wenming
Producer: Li Songyun
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