Jack Ma to give up control of Ant Group
It’s the end of an era…
Jack Ma, the Chinese billionaire, will give up control of Fintech giant Ant Group.
On January 7, the Hangzhou, China-based company communicated it was altering its ownership structure to ensure “no shareholder, alone or jointly with other parties, will have control over Ant Group”. Ma will hold 6.2 percent of shares (he previously held more than 50%).
In recent years, Ma has had an uneasy relationship with the Chinese government to say the least. In 2020, he stated that local banks functioned with a “pawnshop” mindset and accused regulators of hindering the growth of the financial sector.
Shortly after, a crackdown ensued. Ant Group’s long awaited IPO was personally halted by President Xi and the company was forced to restructure. Beijing also slapped a record $2.75 billion fine on Alibaba in 2021, the internet behemoth co-founded by Ma that operates popular Chinese retail platforms Taobao and Tmall. He has since kept a low profile.
Jack Ma is an extrovert who is clearly not afraid of speaking his mind and rubbing elbows with personalities from the West (remember his somewhat hilarious faceoff on artificial intelligence with Elon Musk?)… His personality trait and growing influence on the Chinese economy was too much to bear for the government.
Ma’s future in China is unclear. According to reports, he now resides in Japan… Oh well…
This story was first published on The PhilaVerse (my Substack newsletter).