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經濟學人:馬雲被約談,螞蟻暫緩上市(2)

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On November 2nd the Chinese central bank and banking regulator published new draft rules for online micro-lending, which looked almost perfectly tailored to undercut Ant. Online lenders will need to fund at least 30% of any loan they supply jointly with banks. That could force Ant to keep much more of the credit that it originates on its books; currently, 98% is held as assets by other firms, off Ant's balance-sheet. Additional disclosure requirements could also make it much more cumbersome for banks to partner with the group. Officials at China's banking regulator have already pressed commercial lenders to adhere to the new rules, according to Bloomberg, in effect making many of Ant's transactions non-compliant.

11月2日,中國央行和銀行監管機構發佈了網上小額貸款的新規則草案,看起來幾乎是為打擊螞蟻金服而量身定做的。在線貸款機構與銀行共同提供的貸款中,至少有30%需要融資,這可能迫使螞蟻保留更多源自其賬簿的信貸。目前,其中98%被其他公司作為資產持有,不在螞蟻金服的資產負債表內。額外的信息披露要求也可能使銀行與該集團的合作變得更加麻煩。據彭博社報道,中國銀行業監管機構的官員已經向商業銀行施壓,要求它們遵守新規定,這實際上使得螞蟻金服的許多交易有悖規定。

Depending on how the rules are implemented—they will not be finalised until December—Ant's capital-light model could end up looking much less sleek. "It will be valued more like a financial firm than a tech firm," said a strategist with an Asian sovereign-wealth fund. Given Ant's track record, it seems a fair bet that it will quickly adapt to the new rules, but its credit operations are likely to face much slower growth and lower profitability.

取決於這些規則如何實施——它們要到12月才會最終敲定——螞蟻金服的“輕資本”模式可能會看起來不那麼光鮮。一家亞洲主權財富基金的策略師表示:“它的估值將更像是一家金融公司而不是科技公司。”鑑於螞蟻金服的過往記錄,它似乎會迅速適應新規則,但其信貸業務可能面臨增長放緩和盈利能力下降。

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Investors had previously given Ant a forward price-to-earnings multiple of 40, in line with big global payments companies. Most Chinese banks, in contrast, trade on multiples of less than ten. Ant had been on track for a Market capitalisation north of $300bn, higher than any bank in the world. Now it is likely to fall well short of that. Shares in Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce giant that owns a third of Ant, tumbled by 8% after the suspension of the listing was announced.

投資者此前給螞蟻金服的預期市盈率為40倍,與大型全球支付公司相仿。相比之下,多數中國銀行的市盈率不到10倍。此前,螞蟻金服的市值有望突破3000億美元,高於世界上任何一家銀行。現在,它很有可能離這個目標漸行漸遠。擁有螞蟻三分之一股份的中國電子商務巨頭阿里巴巴,在暫緩上市的消息公佈後股價下跌了8%。

Some investors may at least be grateful to regulators for introducing the new rules before the IPO, however late in the process, allowing them to reprice Ant before they buy its shares. But it is not as if the IPO came as a surprise or the company was an unknown entity; regulators could have acted far earlier. The possibility that they were motivated by a grudge against Mr Ma, and perhaps irritated by his recent speech, cannot be ruled out.

一些投資者可能至少會感謝監管機構在IPO之前就出台了新規定,這允許他們在購買螞蟻金服股票之前對其重新定價。但這次IPO並不出人意料,也不是什麼未知的實體。監管機構本可以在很久前採取行動,不排除他們是出於對馬的怨恨,亦或是被他最近的演講激怒的可能。

Ant had gone to great lengths to brand itself as a tech firm, not a bank. It describes its business as "techfin"—ie, putting technology first—not fintech. In the lead-up to its listing, it asked brokerages to assign tech analysts, not just banking analysts, to cover it. Ultimately, though, its focus has always been on China's financial sector. That is the industry ripe for disruption, and where the money is. But as Ant and legions of investors have been reminded, that is also where the regulators lurk.

螞蟻金服費盡心思把自己打造成一家科技公司,而不是一家銀行。它將自己的業務描述為“科技金融”——即把科技放在首位——而不是“金融科技”。在上市前,該公司曾要求券商指派科技分析師、而不僅僅是銀行業分析師來對它進行報道。不過,歸根結底,它的重點一直都在中國的金融領域。這就是顛覆這個行業的時機,也是賺錢的地方。但正如螞蟻金服和大批投資者被提醒的那樣,這也是監管機構潛伏的地方。

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