January 31, 2023

Brighton Journal

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Jack Ma, founder of the Ant Group, will give up Control

One of the most influential financial technology companies in China, Ant groupOn Saturday, he said that billionaire businessman Jack Ma intends to give up control of the company.

Mr Ma’s withdrawal from the company he founded comes after the ruling Communist Party launched an unprecedented crackdown on big tech companies. Beijing has made Ma’s Ant Group and its sister company, e-commerce giant Alibaba, the crown jewels of its online empire, Early goals in the campaign to limit the power of the internet giants.

Chinese officials forced the Ant Group to cancel what could have been a massive IPO in 2020 and beyond. Ali Baba fined $2.8 billion for abusing its dominance. Last year, Ant Group said it would overhaul its business ordered by the government to address regulators’ concerns about unfair competition and the amount of data it collects on users.

Under Xi Jinping, China’s supreme leader, Beijing has sought to exert greater state control over the economy in recent years, including by curbing the influence of tycoons who have amassed vast wealth but have been seen to overreach.

Mr. Ma was once hailed in China as a model of success, but he has faced increasing trouble with the Chinese government, especially after he criticized the country’s banking regulators in late 2019. In recent years, he has largely disappeared from view.

Ant group he said in an ad On Saturday, Mr. Ma was no longer the “controlling person” who owns 34 percent of the company’s shares. Instead, it will be one of the top ten shareholders.

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The announcement, which described the move as part of a plan to “improve corporate governance,” gave no details on when the changes would be finalized and indicated that they would not affect the company’s day-to-day operations. Under the Ant Group’s current management structure, Mr. Ma has no management role.

Ant’s flagship Alipay app is a major gateway to more than 1 billion users in China who use it to pay for meals, shop on credit and build their savings. But its influence and scale has made it a focus of attention in Beijing as authorities scrutinize the fintech industry for potential risks to the country’s broader financial system. Then, in 2020, shortly before that Ant is set to public declarationRegulators suddenly to stop Its initial public offering, valued at the time at $34 billion, would have been the largest IPO on record.

It was not immediately clear how Mr Ma’s withdrawal from Ant Group might affect any plans the fintech giant might have to resume its initial public offering. But it will probably be delayed due to listing requirements. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange requires a one-year waiting period after a change of ownership; Other markets require two or three years.

Ant Group restructured its companies in accordance with the demands of the Chinese authorities. Last month, the organizers agreed Plan to raise $1.5 billion in capital for its consumer lending unit, allowing the Hangzhou government arm to become its second largest shareholder. The capital raise overcomes a major regulatory hurdle, allowing it to issue consumer loans worth up to 500 billion yuan, or $73 billion.

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The approval was the latest sign that the Chinese government is ready to soften its tough stance on internet companies in a bid to stimulate economic activity in 2023.

long after”Zero covidLockdowns, fines and strict regulations on Ant Group and other tech giants Li Qiang, the new number two official of the Communist Party, urged cadres at an economic meeting in December to “vigorously develop the digital economy” and improve their global competitiveness.

Zhixu Wang Contribute to the research.