The share price of ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance jumped as much as 18% on the company's trading debut yesterday, as investors bet on the prospects of China's largest online insurer backed by marquee investors including billionaire Jack Ma.
The strong demand seen for ZhongAn shares and their high valuations would likely encourage more financial technology companies to sell their shares in Hong Kong, reported The Nikkei citing analysts.
ZhongAn's shares began trading at HK$69 (US$8.83) and rose as high as HK$70.50 in the first five minutes. They closed at HK$65.20, with more than 96 million shares having changed hands.
The Shanghai-based company, backed by Jack Ma's Ant Financial, internet services major Tencent Holdings, and Ping An Insurance Group, had priced its 199.3 million share IPO at the top end of its indicative price range of HK$53.70-HK$59.70, following strong demand. It raised HK$11.9 billion in total from the IPO.
Demand from retail investors accounted for 393 times the number of shares on offer in the IPO, ZhongAn said in a securities filing. The retail investors were allocated 20% of the offering. The institutional tranche was also “significantly” oversubscribed, ZhongAn said.
Founded as China's first online-only insurer in October 2013 by nine shareholders including Ant Financial, Ping An and Tencent, ZhongAn began operations a month later. The company made headlines when it announced selling 100 million insurance policies within a week during a shopping festival in November 2014. It doubled the number of insurance products sold to 200 million during the same festival two years later.
While the company posted profits in each of the three calendar years through 2016, they were fueled by investment income.