This tiny firm just surpassed Goldman Sachs after 14,000 per cent gain

AMTD Idea also has well-known backers. Century City International Holdings., owned by members of the Lo family, the Hong Kong real estate magnate, has a 5.8% stake in the company. A Morgan Stanley unit invested in a funding round in 2019.

Choi, a Hong Kong native and Canadian citizen who studied accounting at the University of Waterloo, is the sole owner of a vehicle that controls 32.5% of the AMTD group. His father is also implicated after a company he owns acquired a majority stake in 2015. AMTD Group owns 50.6% of AMTD Idea, which in turn owns 88.7% of AMTD Digital.

“There are those who envy and [are] jealous, and those who are cold-eyed and mocking, and malevolent, there are slanderers.

Calvin Choi, Chairman and CEO of AMTD

Choi has been a fixture at annual fintech events in Singapore for the past few years. At an event co-hosted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the AMTD Group was among the top sponsors for three consecutive years until 2019, when Choi spoke at panels with leaders including the CEO of Standard Chartered, Bill Winters.

Earlier this year, however, Hong Kong regulators banned Choi from the securities industry for two years for failing to disclose conflicts of interest in transactions he worked on at UBS. He is appealing the decision. China Minsheng Investment Group, an AMTD Group investor that installed Choi as CEO, turned on him and at one point put up banners in Hong Kong’s central district denouncing him.

Furthermore, Hindenburg Research blasted the AMTD group. In an April 2021 report on Ebang International Holdings, a China-based crypto firm, the short seller said its track record as an underwriter was “appalling,” with 87% of its U.S. IPOs resulting in losses.

Choi admitted in a statement last year that he had struggled.

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“There are those who envy and [are] jealous, and those who are cold-eyed and mocking, and malicious, there are slanderers,” he said. “However, entrepreneurs must insist that development is the last word.”

AMDD’s surge has those from Hong Kong to New York speculating on what, if anything, is behind the stock’s moves. One explanation is that only a small portion of its shares are available for trading.

“The stock is significantly overvalued,” said Thomas Nip, research analyst at Valuable Capital in Hong Kong. “The company’s low free float means it will be easier for large shareholders to drive up the share price.”

As the recent rally in the US was reminiscent of the retail mania that drove shares of companies including GameStop higher last year, some Reddit and Twitter users appeared baffled by the gains, decrying the claims that the WallStreetBets subreddit was behind the moves. At one point on Tuesday, AMD Digital’s market value topped $400 billion, while AMTD Idea’s shares jumped 520%.

“Given the speed of its rise, I have a feeling this one is going to nose dive,” said Oktay Kavrak, director of Leverage Shares. “Hopefully investors will take profits along the way as the inevitable crash will send HKD back into relative obscurity.”

Bloomberg

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