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FINANCE

The Story Behind ZhongAn’s Blockbuster IPO

By Yang Qiaoling, Wei Yiyang and Liu Xiao
ZhongAn Chairman Ou Yaping (pictured on the left, with CEO Chen Jing) and his family control at least 15.35% of the firm's shares. Ou hopes to hand the firm on to his son one day, someone close to Ou told Caixin. Photo: Visual China
ZhongAn Chairman Ou Yaping (pictured on the left, with CEO Chen Jing) and his family control at least 15.35% of the firm's shares. Ou hopes to hand the firm on to his son one day, someone close to Ou told Caixin. Photo: Visual China

Investors are scrambling for a piece of China’s largest online-only insurer – despite its price tag.

Shares of ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance rose as much as 18% on their Hong Kong debut Thursday, after a hugely popular initial public offering (IPO) that was nearly 400 times oversubscribed.

Despite its short history and a projection of annual losses for this and next year, the final pricing of IPO shares at HK$59.70 ($7.64) each — the upper end of its marketed price range — puts the four-year-old insurer’s valuation at $11 billion. Though it is still a fraction of insurance giants Ping An and China Life’s market valuations, at $144 billion and $109 billion respectively.

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