In the past, Jack Ma, the 55-year-old billionaire founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has attended the group's annual company festivals dressed up as a punk rocker or as Michael Jackson.

But the public float of his second company, Ant Group, could turn out to be his biggest extravaganza yet. The forthcoming listing of the payments firm, announced this week, is expected to value it at $200bn (R3.3-trillion) — making it easily the most valuable initial public offering (IPO) of 2020 anywhere in the world.

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