263.95 -1.96 (-0.74%)
Before hours: 7:33AM EST
|Bid||0.00 x 1100|
|Ask||0.00 x 1400|
|Day's range||261.12 - 266.00|
|52-week range||169.95 - 319.32|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||0.99|
|PE ratio (TTM)||28.56|
|Earnings date||02 Feb 2021|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y target est||322.98|
(Bloomberg) -- Ant Group Co. could resume its plans for an initial public offering once problems are resolved, China’s central bank chief said, offering some relief to global investors seeking signs on what the future holds for the world’s largest fintech giant.People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang said relevant agencies are still investigating issues related to monopolies at billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Group, adding that the matters were “complicated” and some risks concerned consumer privacy. To resolve the problems, regulators need a clear legal framework, Yi said on a panel at the World Economic Forum on Tuesday.“I would say that this is a process and also once the problem solved, it will go back to the track to continue consideration according to law,” Yi said in English. When asked whether that means an IPO, he added that if the company follows the legal structure, “you will have the result.”Chinese regulators are asking Ant to work on a timetable to overhaul its business after abruptly halting its $35 billion IPO in November. The fate of Ma’s sprawling fintech empire remains uncertain after China issued a slew of draft rules that threatened to curb growth for some of Ant’s most lucrative businesses.The message from Yi is the latest sign that Ant has avoided a worst-case scenario where it needs to shutter businesses completely. Ma resurfaced in January, ending a months-long period away from public view that fueled intense speculation about his plight.Ma addressed teachers via a livestream during an annual event in January to commend rural educators, talking about how he’ll spend more time on philanthropy. The co-founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Ant didn’t mention his recent run-ins with Beijing during his address.Shares of Alibaba rose as much as 3.9% on Wednesday morning in Hong Kong.Last Friday, China’s banking regulator said recent measures that have hit Ant hard weren’t aimed at any specific company.While regulators stopped short of directly asking for a breakup of the company in December, the central bank stressed that Ant needs to “understand the necessity of overhauling” and come up with a timetable as soon as possible.Monopoly RisksPBOC Deputy Governor Pan Gongsheng said in an op-ed in the Financial Times on Wednesday that regulators are trying to strike a balance between encouraging fintech innovation and preventing financial risks.“Network effects mean that fintech competition often leads to ‘winner-takes-all’ outcomes including market monopolies and unfair competition,” he wrote.Uncertainty remains for several of Ant’s businesses, including consumer loans, crowdfunded health-care and payments. The central bank said last week that any non-bank payment company with half of the market in online transactions or two entities with a combined two-thirds share could be subject to antitrust probes, according to draft rules.If a monopoly is confirmed, the central bank can suggest the cabinet impose restrictive measures including breaking up the entity by its business type. Firms already with payment licenses would have a one-year grace period to comply with the new rules.China’s insurance and banking regulator said last week it would analyze the risks of internet companies’ crowdfunding health-care operations and take necessary measures. Ant said the same day that the chief architect of its health-care business, which is known as Xianghubao, resigned.Meanwhile, Ant’s consumer loans business could need more capital to comply with draft rules that place more stringent requirements on its lending units.Ant needs to inject at least 70 billion yuan ($11 billion) of new capital just for its credit-lending business, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Francis Chan estimated in December. That calculation is based on draft rules that require Ant to co-fund 30% of loans, with a maximum asset leverage of five times.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- When China’s two big mobile powers clashed publicly on New Year’s Eve, the stock of a little-known gaming company surged the most ever, minting a new billionaire in 38-year-old maverick entrepreneur Huang Yimeng.Shares in his indie game distributor XD Inc. rose 24% on the first trading day of 2021 after Huawei Technologies Co. temporarily removed all Tencent Holdings Ltd. games from its app store in a dispute over their revenue split. Investors flocked to the ByteDance Ltd.-backed creator of TapTap -- a Steam-like download service for games that bypasses the dominant app stores -- on the sign of schism between China’s big two.The rare incident brought to the fore simmering resentment against the 50% cut that app stores like Huawei’s charge developers and highlighted the key attraction of TapTap: it is ad-supported and thus free to use for both players and publishers.Now Huang, inspired by Epic Games Inc.’s fight against Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple Inc.’s platform fees, hopes to ride that upswell of rebellion and challenge the status quo in the $30 billion Chinese mobile games arena. Already counting blockbuster hits like Genshin Impact on its platform, XD is working to lure more developers disillusioned with the tight grip on game development and distribution enjoyed by Tencent and hardware vendors like Huawei and Xiaomi Corp., which make their app stores the default on every phone they sell.“More and more creators will come out and say ‘no’ to traditional distribution channels because they don’t need to pay them for selling good content,” the six-foot-one XD co-founder and chief executive officer said in an interview. “The danger of companies using hardware to trap users inside their ecosystems is something we should be looking at from an anti-monopoly standpoint.”Why Apple’s Fees Have iPhone App-Makers Up in Arms: QuickTakeHuang isn’t all talk. One of 2020’s biggest mobile hits, Pascal’s Wager, picked TapTap as its exclusive Android distribution partner in China. The thematically dark action role-player, created by Giant Network Group Co. unit TipWorks, has sold more than 1.05 million copies globally, according to the studio’s founder Yang Yang. TapTap generated half of those sales and the rest came from the iOS App Store and Google Play, said Yang, who first showcased the game during Apple’s iPhone 11 event in 2019.“The timing was perfect in that our game met with TapTap’s rapid growth,” Yang said. “If someone wants to work with you without even making money, that means they really care about your product. Their way of game publishing is disruptive.”TapTap’s rise is aided by a growing -- and global -- government and consumer backlash against the handful of mobile giants that control the app economy. It coincides with a Chinese crackdown intended to rein in its most powerful internet corporations from Tencent to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Regulators have yet to address gaming platforms, but the 50% rule set by Chinese Android stores -- which makes Apple and Google’s 30% levies look like a bargain -- is fueling discontent among game studios, big and small.Read more: Going After Big Tech Is One Thing Global Leaders Agree OnFor months, Tencent had sought a bigger cut of sales through Huawei’s app store in marquee titles like Honor of Kings, but the two companies failed to agree a deal, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. On Dec. 31, Huawei removed Tencent games from its app store only to restore them hours later. Tencent said the next day that the two sides had reached an agreement, without providing details.Against that backdrop, TapTap users grew 52% in the first half of last year. XD’s stock has risen roughly 470% since listing in Hong Kong at the end of 2019, pushing its market capitalization north of $3.7 billion and the value of Huang’s 35% stake to about $1.3 billion.XD is one of the few up-and-comers in China’s games industry that hasn’t relied on Tencent’s patronage. It’s attracted powerful backers like ByteDance -- the Tencent nemesis behind TikTok and Douyin that’s developing its own interest in gaming -- as cornerstone investors for its initial public offering. Fellow Shanghai startups Lilith Games and Genshin creator miHoYo are also among its investors, though Huang and his co-founders maintain the controlling stakes and voting rights. That’s helped TapTap become a more neutral platform, where gamers look for both Tencent blockbusters and indie tiles.The CEO’s path was as unlikely as that of his company. Huang’s first entrepreneurial effort got him kicked out of college.A former semi-pro basketball player, his first business was a peer-to-peer download network called VeryCD that was quickly overrun with pirated content. In 2003, a sex tape circulating on the network that had been recorded on Huang’s university campus drew the ire of its governors, leading to his dismissal after refusing to remove the clip. He told his school back then that online platforms shouldn’t be responsible for policing content.“I didn’t regret my decision,” he said. “I’m lucky I left school early so I got more time to work on my website.”Huang found more success in making web games, enticing fans to splurge on weapons and power-ups for their warriors and sorcerers. As China’s internet use shifted from desktop to mobile, he realized there wasn’t a Steam-style community dedicated to smartphone gamers. TapTap was born in 2016 and has been free to use from the outset.Outside of China, Fortnite maker Epic Games launched its PC games store in 2018 to challenge Steam by offering a 12% revenue split with developers rather than 30%. XD’s strategy mirrors Epic’s: its in-house games attract users to the store and the store lends more exposure to its games. For now, Huang’s company still generates the bulk of revenue from selling virtual items in games it develops or publishes. Ad sales through TapTap accounted for less than a fifth of XD’s $205 million revenue in the first six months of 2020. Huang expects TapTap to contribute a larger proportion as the platform continues to increase ad slots.“It’s about time for Huawei and its peers to make changes,” said Chundi Zhang, a gaming analyst with Ampere Analysis. “But if the big guys do cut their fees, it will be TapTap’s turn to be threatened. This is a game of checks and balances.”(Updates with share price move in 10th paragraph; a previous version of this story corrected the sales figure of Pascal’s Wager in sixth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Didi Chuxing Technology Co. is close to finalizing a $1.5 billion round of funding for its on-demand trucking unit from investors including Temasek Holdings Pte, surpassing its fundraising target as investors count on a Chinese economic recovery to fuel shipping.Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital and IDG Capital will join the financing for Didi Freight, an Uber-like trucking service, a person with knowledge of the matter said. Other investors in the unit’s debut round include the investment arm of real estate giant Country Garden Holdings Co., a unit of CITIC and Hidden Hill Capital, the person said, asking not to be identified discussing a private deal. The total amount exceeded its target of about $400 million by several-fold.China’s economy roared back to pre-pandemic growth rates in the fourth quarter after its industrial engines fired up to meet surging demand for exports. That boom is straining a domestic logistics network already taxed by a post-Covid 19 resurgence in e-commerce. Startups like Full Truck Alliance -- backed by SoftBank Group Corp. -- and tech giants such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. are now introducing technology to try and streamline the shipping process, connecting merchants with truckers and delivery firms.Read more: Didi’s Logistics Arm Was Said to Seek $400 Million in Debut FundingDidi first launched its on-demand logistics service in Chengdu and Hangzhou in June and has since expanded to eight cities, handling more than 100,000 orders daily on average. Backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd. and SoftBank, the Chinese startup is taking on larger rivals including Full Truck Alliance -- known by its Chinese name Manbang -- and Huolala in an already crowded market. Huolala raised $515 million from investors including Sequoia and Hillhouse. Full Truck Alliance raised $1.7 billion from investors including SoftBank and Tencent about a month before that.Didi Freight represents one of the key growth initiatives for a ride-hailing giant seeking to diversify from its traditional business. Didi is also ramping up its autonomous driving unit as well as robo-taxi service. A company representative had no immediate comment on the latest fundraising in an email.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.