Not since the listing of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding six years ago had an IPO generated as much buzz as the listing of Ant Group. Alibaba’s IPO, which raised US$25 billion, was the biggest-ever at the time. So huge was the demand for Ant shares that the listing shattered all records. The retail portion soaked up US$3 trillion ($4.1 trillion), with Shanghai offering a whopping 870 times oversubscribed while the Hong Kong part was 389 times oversubscribed. Ant was set to raise US$34.4 billion in the IPO, at a valuation of US$313 billion. But just 36 hours before the ceremonial gong at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange was set to be struck for the record-setting listing, Beijing abruptly pulled the rug underneath it.

The suspension of the mega listing came just 10 days after Jack Ma gave a bluntly-worded speech at the Bund Summit in Shanghai lashing out at old-fashioned financial regulations that he claimed hampered financial innovations. The Basel Accord — a set of internationally agreed banking supervision regulations — the Alibaba founder said, was a “club for the elderly” which should not apply to China because it does not have a mature financial ecosystem yet.

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