Published in News

Jack Ma unplugs his career juke box with Ant Group

by on09 January 2023

That music's lost its flavour, provide another flavour

Jack Ma will cede control of Chinese fintech giant Ant Group following a Communist Party crackdown on the nation's tech sector that targeted the charismatic billionaire.

Ma once exemplified a generation of Chinese technology moguls with his rags-to-riches personal tale and penchant for public showmanship.

But the former English teacher has retreated from public view since Beijing shut down Ant's planned initial public offering in Hong Kong in 2020 following his barbed comments about government regulators.

Ant said that it was restructuring so that "no shareholder, alone or jointly with other parties, will have control over Ant Group".

At the moment, Ma indirectly controls 53.46 per cent of Ant's shares and deemed him the company's "control person".

Now he will hold just 6.2 percent of the voting rights following the adjustment.

"The adjustment is being implemented to further enhance the stability of our corporate structure and sustainability of our long-term development," the Ant statement said.

Ten individuals—including the founder, management and staff—will "exercise their voting rights independently", it said.

Ant operates Alipay, the world's largest digital payments platform, which boasts hundreds of millions of monthly users in China and beyond.

Ant's planned IPO would have been a world-record listing at the time, and its damaging withdrawal came days after Ma launched a stinging public attack on Chinese regulators.

In a speech at a summit in Shanghai, the mercurial tycoon said banks operated with a "pawnshop" mentality and accused financial watchdogs of stifling growth.

A riled Beijing also later hit Alibaba—the internet titan co-founded by Ma that operates popular Chinese shopping platforms Taobao and Tmall—with a record $2.75 billion fine for alleged unfair practices.

However, in a sign that the official grip may now be loosening, authorities said last month Ant had won approval to raise 10.5 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) for its consumer finance arm.

An office of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission in the southwestern city of Chongqing will let the firm raise its registered capital from eight billion yuan to 18.5 billion yuan, according to a notice issued on 30 December.

News of the approval sent shares in Alibaba soaring almost nine percent in Hong Kong trading, while other tech firms were also boosted on hopes the sector crackdown could be easing.

Alibaba's latest earnings data in November showed a loss of 20.6 billion yuan for the third quarter. The company did not release full sales figures for its Singles Day shopping bonanza in 2022 for the first time.


Last modified on 09 January 2023
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

Read more about: