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How to buy Ant Group stock in the US

American investors may need to get creative to back this highly anticipated Chinese IPO.

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Our pick to buy Ant stock: Interactive Brokers

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Chinese fintech giant, Ant Group — formerly Ant Financial — operates Alipay, the world’s largest digital payments platform. As it prepares to go public in one of the world’s largest IPOs, here’s what US investors need to know about how they can buy in.

What we know about the Ant Financial IPO

Hangzhou-headquartered Ant Group plans to go public through a parallel listing on Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges. This Alibaba affiliate aims to raise a whopping $35 billion through its IPO based on its updated valuation of $280 billion. No word yet on how much shares will cost when the stock goes public.

Before it can be released to public investors, Ant Group must complete its registration with the China Securities Regulatory Commission. And there’s speculation that US politics could play a hand in the IPO, or possibly even delay it. In a statement to Reuters, Senator Marco Rubio suggested that the US government should attempt to delay the Ant IPO. And according to an article in Bloomberg, there have been discussions about whether to place restrictions on the payments platform, including banning US companies from working with it, which could delay the IPO — or affect the stock’s trajectory.

As of October 19, Ant Group has received approval from Chinese regulators to list its stock on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. It continues to wait for approval from the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

There’s no way to predict exactly how the IPO will shake out, or how the US election might affect restrictions placed on the company. We’ll update this page as more information becomes available.

How to invest in Ant Group from the US

Although Ant Group’s stock will only be available on Chinese exchanges, US investors can still buy shares. In fact, there are four ways American investors can invest in Ant Group.

Watch our short video in which we break down what we know so far about Ant Group’s upcoming IPO and how you may be able to buy shares from the US.

1. Use an international brokerage account

Most US brokerages only offer access to US stock exchanges, like the NYSE and NASDAQ. If you plan to buy Ant Group shares, you’ll need an international brokerage account that allows you to buy and sell shares on overseas markets.

Charles Schwab, Fidelity and Interactive Brokers are all equipped to handle international trade. But before you open an account, make sure you review your broker’s commissions, exchange rates and potential taxes.

Our pick: Interactive Brokers

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2. Buy Alibaba shares

Another option for investors who want to purchase Ant Group stocks is to back its parent company, Alibaba. While this is a less direct investment than purchasing Ant Group stocks outright, you won’t need an international brokerage account to invest — Alibaba trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BABA.

Get more detailed information and learn how to buy BABA stock

3. Buy ETFs

You can also indirectly add Ant Group stocks to your portfolio by investing in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that track the stock. Once the stock hits the market, keep an eye out for ETFs that add Ant shares to their overall holdings. By purchasing these ETFs, you’ll gain some exposure to Ant Group’s stock.

The following ETFs already invest heavily in Chinese stocks, so they may be worth watching once Ant shares go live:

  • iShares MSCI China ETF
  • Renaissance Capital’s International IPO ETF
  • SPDR S&P China ETF

You can buy ETFs or ADRs from a domestic brokerage account.

4. Wait for an ADR

A final option for investors looking to tuck a slice of this Chinese fintech into their portfolio is to wait for the company’s American Depositary Receipt (ADR) to reach US markets. ADRs are certificates that represent shares of foreign stock and, like ETFs, they can be purchased from a domestic brokerage account.

Should Ant Group’s ADR be released to US investors, it may arrive as a Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 ADR. Level 1 ADRs are the most risky, as they don’t require an SEC report and typically only trade on over-the-counter exchanges. Level 2 and 3 ADRs must file SEC reports, with only Level 3 ADRs being allowed to list on major US markets.

Ant Financial’s balance sheet

Ant Group is a subsidiary of Alibaba Group and was formed in 2014 to manage Alipay — a digital payments platform with over 711 million active users.

For the six months ended in June 2020, Ant reported revenue of 72.5 billion yuan — or $10.5 billion. Profits over the same time period were 21.9 billion yuan — or $3.2 billion. These figures put Ant Group’s revenue up 38% from the same period in 2019 — a promising trend for interested investors.

Ant reports that its payment app, Alipay, processed 118 trillion yuan — $17 trillion — in transactions for the 12 months ended in June 2020.

How are similar companies performing?

While no guarantee of performance, here’s how some of Ant Group’s competitors have fared: Select a company to learn more about what they do and how their stock performs, including market capitalization, the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, price/earnings-to-growth (PEG) ratio and dividend yield. While this list includes a selection of the most well-known and popular stocks, it doesn't include every stock available.

Disclaimer: The value of any investment can go up or down depending on news, trends and market conditions. We are not investment advisers, so do your own due diligence to understand the risks before you invest.

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