Ant Group’s march is what Trump fears the most

As what may be history’s biggest initial public offering looms, the US president has aimed his crosshairs at Jack Ma’s Ant Group. The timing of Donald Trump mulling restrictions on Ant’s Alipay and other Chinese digital payment platforms like Tencent Holdings is no coincidence.

It is aimed at disrupting a dual Hong Kong-Shanghai listing that is pulling attention – and capital – away from Wall Street. It also suggests Trump’s “October Surprise” ahead of the November 3 election may be coaxing China into an even bigger trade war that he can spin for political gain.

Who’s not distracted? Investors.

Trump’s antics don’t seem to be having the intended effect as Ant valuations hold their own. Perhaps punters are concluding it’s the Covid-19 talking. Or that when it comes to China, Trump’s Twitter bark is much worse than the bite of his chaotic government.

And even if Trump pounces, says analyst Supun Walpola of LightStream Research, “there is a lot more growth left for Ant in China.”