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Shado Baker in Asian Markets,

China may stage world’s biggest IPO, likely next year

 Postal Savings Bank of China (PSBC), the country’s sixth largest lender by assets, is seeking an initial public offering in 2016 that could tie Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s record for history’s biggest, state media reported Wednesday.

The bank, currently owned outright by national postal-service provider China Post Group Corp., has received a green light for its IPO from the Ministry of Finance, China Daily quoted an anonymous source as saying.

The offering would seek to raise up to $25 billion, an amount which if secured, would tie Alibaba’s BABA, +1.77% New York IPO last year as the largest ever worldwide.

PSBC also plans to bring in strategic investors by the end of this June to raise $6 billion through the sale of about 15% of total equity, the report said.

However, the report didn’t indicate on which stock market PSBC would list.

Earlier this week, the Financial Times reported that PSBC had engaged in talks with a group of potential investors for the pre-IPO minority-stake sale.

The prospective investors include Alibaba-affiliated Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group Co., Australia & New Zealand Banking Group ANZ, -0.42%ANEWF, +0.36% and Singapore sovereign-wealth fund Temasek Holdings, the Financial Times said.

Also listed in the report as possible cornerstone investors were U.S. private-equity groups such as Blackstone Group LP BX, +0.00% , KKR & Co. LP KKR, -1.05% and Warburg Pincus LLC — the latter currently run by former U.S. Treasury secretary Tim Geithner — as well as Chinese investment funds including Citic Capital and Hopu Investment Management.

PSBC was established in 2007 and now ranks as the sixth largest bank in the country, with 6.3 trillion yuan ($1 trillion) assets as of 2014.

The bank boasts a strong rural reach, with more than 40,000 branches throughout China, the most among any Chinese bank, PSBC President Lü Jiajin said in an interview with the state-run Central Television last month.

Laura He