Billionaire Jack Ma to give up control of Chinese fintech giant Ant group: Report
The company will grant ten individuals, including the founder, management, and staff, independent voting rights, effectively removing Ma's voting control of Ant, according to the announcement on Saturday. The shift will not impact the economic interests of any shareholders.
Chinese billionaire Jack Ma will longer control the Chinese Fintech giant Ant Group Co. as the billionaire retreats further from his online empire in the aftermath of China's unprecedented tech crackdown.
According to the announcement on Saturday, the company will grant ten individuals, including the founder, management, and staff, independent voting rights, effectively removing Ma's voting control of Ant. The shift will not impact the economic interests of any shareholders.
Ma has mostly disappeared from public view since delivering a speech criticising regulators on the eve of the scuttled Ant listing in 2020. Many of his peers have given up formal corporate positions and increased charitable donations to support President Xi Jinping's vision of 'common prosperity.'
Since then, Ant has concentrated on improving its business operations to appease regulators. It has increased its capital base for its consumer loan affiliate and moved to build firewalls in an ecosystem that previously allowed it to direct traffic from the billion-user payment platform Alipay to wealth management and consumer lending services.
With the shift, Ant may have to wait longer for the much-anticipated resumption of its initial public offering. Companies that have had a controller change in the previous three years or two years are not permitted to list on the country's so-called A-share market if listed on Shanghai's STAR Market. This waiting period is one year in Hong Kong's stock market.
After the change, Ma retains the company's voting rights and economic interests. In a July filing, affiliate Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. reiterated that Ma 'intends to reduce and then limit his direct and indirect economic interest in Ant Group over time' to no more than 8.8 per cent.
The Chinese government's multi-year crackdown has reined in breakneck growth for the entire internet sector and left global investors feeling the shockwaves. It's changed the playbook for the nation's tech champions, who once prioritised growth at all costs, introducing a new paradigm for the country's private sector.