For about one month, Ant Financial, the fintech and financial services group affiliated to Alibaba Group, has been changing its name from “Ant Financial” to “Ant Group”.
To be more precise, its legal entity has changed from 浙江蚂蚁小微金融服务集团股份有限公司 (Ant Small and Micro Financial Services Group Co., Ltd) to 蚂蚁科技集团股份有限公司 (Ant Technology Group Co., Ltd). According to multiple reports in China, the name change has been approved by the government and will take effect in the company’s registration records soon.
Eric Jing, Chairman of the group, has already updated his Weibo account description as “Chairman of Ant Technology Group”.
Why would Ant change its name? Well, this has been in the making for a couple of years, for a few plausible reasons:
- Technological services has becoming increasingly an important part of its revenue, and is overtaking revenue generated by financial services;
- The valuation multiples of financial services company is not as attractive as that of a technology company, especially for a group with mixed income streams;
- The risk profile and regulatory requirements for a financial company are very different from those of a technological companies;
Rumours are saying that addressing the above would pave the way for Ant’s eventual IPO – in Hong Kong perhaps? It will not be an easy or smooth journey though.
As of end of last year, Ant’s valuation was at US$150 billion, making it the most valuable tech company that has yet to IPO.