Come September, sons and grandsons of some of the most powerful members of the ruling Communist Party of China might get just a little bit richer.
According to a New York Times report Sunday, the initial public offering, or IPO, of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, set to be launched in September, will bring windfall gains to large shareholders, including, among others, Winston Wen -- the son of former Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.
Four of Alibaba's major investors -- Boyu Capital; Citic Capital Holdings, which is a part of the state-owned conglomerate Citic; CDB Capital, which is China Development Bank’s private investment arm; and New Horizon Capital, which was co-founded by Winston Wen -- have deep political connections, reaching up to the highest echelons of the ruling party, according to the Times report.
New Horizon Capital reported that at the end of 2013 the value of its Alibaba stake stood at 3.73 times the cost of its initial investment, according to documents accessed by the Times. Similarly, a $400 million investment in Alibaba made in the same time period by Boyu Capital, which has former President Jiang Zemin’s grandson as a partner, would now stand at more than $1 billion.
Analysts predict that Alibaba’s IPO in September, which is expected to be the biggest in the technology industry worldwide, could raise more than $20 billion, valuing the company at more than $200 billion.
Anne Stevenson-Yang, of J Capital Research in Beijing, told the Times that Alibaba had “so many different allies across so many different ministries,” that it would take a “seismic effort” to topple it.
Most of Alibaba’s new investors in 2012, when the company announced a $7.6 billion deal to buy back half of Yahoo’s stake, are also state-owned. The Times reported that the China Development Bank lent $1 billion to the company to help fund the deal.