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China’s billionaire Jack Ma plans to give up control of Ant Group – report

According to media reports on Thursday, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma is planning to relinquish total control of Ant Group due to pressure from government regulators.

The move is part of the fintech giant’s effort to distance itself from affiliate Alibaba Group Holding, which is under intense government scrutiny, WSJ reported.

Since last year, Chinese regulators have been cracking down harder on domestic tech behemoths such as Alibaba and Ant Group in an effort to end their dominance in the internet sector.

Ant Group’s $35 billion IPO was cancelled by the authorities two years ago, forcing the technology firm to restructure as a financial holding company regulated by China’s central bank.

“As the overhaul progresses, Ant is taking the opportunity to reduce the company’s reliance on Ma, who founded Alibaba,” the report noted.

“Diminishing his ownership could put back a potential revival of Ant’s IPO for a year or more. Chinese securities regulations require a timeout on public listings for companies that have gone through a recent change in control,” it added.

According to the report, Ma may relinquish control by delegating some of his voting power to other Ant executives, including Chief Executive Eric Jing.

Ma has had complete control over Ant since separating it from Alibaba more than a decade ago.

Alibaba announced a major reshuffle at the top in December of last year, as the country tightened its stance against domestic Big Tech companies over data and internet regulations.

Alibaba also announced major restructuring plans to strengthen its domestic and international e-commerce strategies.

Alibaba, which was founded in 1999, underwent a major reorganisation when Ma handed over the CEO reins to Daniel Zhang in 2015 and appointed him Chairman in 2019.

In November, China’s market regulator fined tech behemoths Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent, and e-commerce platform Inc and Suning for violating anti-monopoly rules in 34 mergers and acquisitions (M&A) transactions in which they failed to declare illegal implementation of operating concentration.

After the hacker claimed the data came from an Alibaba server, Chinese authorities summoned executives and senior technicians from Alibaba Group.

Shanghai police summoned Alibaba executives after the law enforcement agency suffered one of the largest data breaches in history.

About the author

Brendan Taylor

Brendan Taylor was a TV news producer for 5 and a half years. He is an experienced writer. Brendan covers Breaking News at Insider Paper.

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