It has been more than a year since Chinese fintech giant Ant Financial’s record fundraising of $14 billion—the most ever for a private company—which valued it at $150 billion. The transaction made Ant the world’s most valuable fintech, at a valuation double that of Goldman Sachs.
However, a lot has changed since then. The China-US trade war has escalated and tariffs worth more than $600 billion have been slapped on goods. In China, tech startups have seen fundraising dry up, while investors outside of Asia have also turned bearish after dramatic declines in the valuations of some leading technology players like Uber and WeWork, both of which share SoftBank as an investor. (SoftBank is an investor in Alibaba, which owns 33% of Ant.)
All in all, the environment looks more difficult even for a poster child like Ant. “To be clear, Ant and WeWork are not comparable, but the WeWork fiasco may have caused a paradigm shift in large unicorn private company valuation,” said Matthew Graham, CEO of investment firm Sino Global Capital. “Ant Financial would also be impacted by this perception shift.”