ZhongAn Online Property and Casualty Insurance, China's first Internet-only insurer, has clinched Hong Kong stock exchange approval for its planned initial public offering which could raise more than US$1 billion, reported Reuters citing sources with direct knowledge of the deal.
The company plans to start gauging investor appetite for the IPO as soon as today after receiving the nod from the listing committee of the Hong Kong stock exchange, added the sources. It plans to launch the IPO and take orders from investors on 18 September.
The sources could not be named because details of the deal are not public. ZhongAn did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment on its IPO plans.
The IPO would be the biggest by a financial technology company (FinTech) in the city, which wants to lure more new listings of so-called new economy startups.
ZhongAn is among several Chinese FinTech companies tapping investors to fund expansion as consumers move more of their banking, payments, investing and insurance online.
Last year, Ant Financial, the world’s most-valuable fintech company, raised $4.5 billion, one of the biggest funding rounds for a private internet company, while peer-to-peer lending and wealth management platform Lufax raised $1.2 billion and JD Finance, the finance subsidiary of online direct sales firm JD.com (JD.O), raised $1 billion.
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%, and Tencent Holdings with 12.1%. Ping An holds 12.1%, according to ZhongAn’s prospectus.