Ant Group’s $ 37 billion IPO was frozen shortly after its billionaire co-founder Jack Ma gave a speech at odds with the Chinese Communist Party’s handling of the economy.
President Xi has ordered Chinese regulators to effectively investigate and stop Ant’s IPO, according to the report.
Ant Group did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment. The State Council’s information office, the Chinese cabinet, could not be reached immediately for comment.
Ma said at a summit in Shanghai on Oct. 24 that the regulatory system stifles innovation and needs to be reformed to fuel growth. Earlier this month, Reuters reported that the speech sparked a chain of events that torpedoed Ant’s listing.
Shortly after Ma’s scathing speech, state regulators began compiling reports, including one on how Ant had used digital financial products like Huabei, a virtual credit card service, to encourage poor and young people going into debt.
The State Council’s general office compiled a public opinion report on Ma’s speech and submitted it to senior officials, including President Xi, Reuters reported.