Ant’s IPO puts the company’s valuation at dizzying heights. At about $315b, Ant is worth more than the gross domestic products of Egypt, Chile or Finland. For corporate comparisons, it’s bigger than JPMorgan Chase, the biggest U.S. bank. Ant is larger than payment rival PayPal, media giant Disney and dwarfs Bank of America. It’s three times bigger than tech giant IBM and four times larger than Goldman Sachs.
Ma appears to be a big fan of the number eight, which is often associated with wealth in China. Eight is pronounced “ba” and rhymes with the word for “prosperity” or “getting rich” in Mandarin. As a result, couples often try to get married in August, the 8th month, while eight is a popular number for street addresses and apartment floors. The 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics opening ceremonies began at 8 p.m. on Aug. 8. Ant is knee-deep in eight. The stock ticker in Shanghai will be 688688; in Hong Kong it’s 6688. Six is also considered a lucky number in China. The shares were priced in Shanghai at 68.8 yuan and at HK$80 in Hong Kong. Ma’s Alibaba Group, which owns about a third of Ant, trades under the ticker 9988 in Hong Kong.