Chinese billionaire Jack Ma will give up control of the fintech giant, the Ant Group. On Saturday, the company said Ant Group is going through a restructuring and that no one would have overall control after this change.
“No shareholder, alone or jointly with other parties, will have control over Ant Group (after the completion of the adjustment), the company said in a statement. “The adjustment is being implemented to enhance further the stability of our corporate structure and sustainability of our long-term development.”
Ma’s ceding of control comes after the Communist Party of China’s multiple crackdowns on tech companies in the country including Ma’s e e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, and the Ant Group. In 2020, China launched antitrust investigations and regulatory changes for many industries. Ant Group’s $37bn initial public offering, which would have been the world’s largest, was canceled at the last minute due to Chinese officials’ clampdown. Alibaba was also fined a hefty $2.8 billion for allegedly abusing its dominance. It also asked companies including Alibaba, Tencent Holdings, and Meituan to open up their algorithms to each other, and penalized them for false advertising.
Jack Ma, a former English teacher, indirectly controls over 50 per cent of Ant Group, according to the company’s statement. Following the restructuring, he will control just over 6 per cent. The fintech company, Ant Group runs China’s mail online payment system Alipay, which has more than 1 billion users.
In 2019, at a summit in Shanghai, Ma criticized Chinese authorities and said banks operated with a “pawnshop” mentality and accused financial watchdogs of ceasing growth.
According to a Reuters report, Ant Group has no plan to initiate an IPO yet. “Ant Group has been focusing on its business rectification and optimization, and does not have a plan for an IPO,” the company spokesperson told the publication.