There’s a new billionaire in the world Friday—apparently thanks to Reddit.
Shares of small-cap TOP Financial, a Hong Kong-headquartered brokerage, skyrocketed on Friday, hitting a high of $256.44 before ending the trading day at $108.21. That’s enough to give TOP’s founder and chairwoman, Junli Yang, an estimated net worth of $1.8 billion. Her stock was worth just $110 million on Wednesday.
There appears to be little rationale behind the huge jump. MarketWatch and The Motley Fool have pointed to online message forum Reddit, whose popular WallStreetBets subreddit has reportedly turned some attention to TOP. WallStreetBets has helped drive several “meme stock” runups, including those of video game retailer GameStop and bankrupt home goods chain Bed, Bath & Beyond.
TOP, then known as Zhong Yang Financial Group, went public at $5 per share at the Nasdaq in June 2022. From a closing price of $6.72 on Wednesday, TOP climbed to $20 on Thursday before Friday’s enormous gains.
Not much was provided about Yang’s career in the company’s 2022 prospectus. She founded TOP in 2015 and has served as chairman since August 2019. She “has extensive experience in various management capacities” and “is responsible for all decision making, business development, and all management tasks,” the prospectus said. Yang, 43, received an undergraduate degree in applied psychology from Beijing Normal University in 2012.
According to the prospectus, she owns 55.5% of Zhong Yang Holdings (BVI) Ltd., which owns 30 million shares in TOP.
TOP—which now sports a market capitalization of more than $3.8 billion—generated revenues of $5.2 million in the six months through September, up 63% from $3.2 million for the six months ended September 2021. Net profits were $2.5 million, a 178% rise from a year earlier. The business says it specializes in trading of local and foreign equities, futures, options products and other financial services. An investor relations contact for the company couldn’t be reached by phone to comment on the stock’s rise.
On Friday, TOP released a statement, simply saying, “While it is the Company’s practice not to comment on any stock movement, we believe it is important to note that we caution investors and all other persons to rely solely on statements and filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission issued by the Company itself or its authorized representatives.”
The Nasdaq last year reportedly was looking into volatile trading in Chinese small-caps. It had no comment earlier this month when China’s U Power, a battery-swapping technology startup, soared by 620% on its first day of Nasdaq trade on April 20, briefly making chairman Li Jia a billionaire, worth an estimated $1.3 billion. It has since lost more than 80% of its value.
If TOP is headed down a similar path—like that of GameStop, which is down by more than three-quarters from the peak of its early 2021 meme stock mania—Yang might not be a billionaire for long.
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