Jack Ma will cede control of fintech giant Ant Group after Beijing's crackdown on the nation’s tech sector that targeted the billionaire. In the official statement released over the weekend, Ant Group confirmed the adjustment in its ownership structure so that “no shareholder, alone or jointly with other parties, will have control over Ant Group”.
In November 2020, Ant’s US$37 billion IPO, which would have been the world’s largest, was cancelled at the last minute. It led to a forced restructuring of the financial technology firm and speculation that the Chinese billionaire would have to eventually cede control.
“The adjustment is being implemented to further enhance the stability of our corporate structure and sustainability of our long-term development,” the Ant statement said.
Ma indirectly controlled 53.46% of Ant Group’s shares, making him the company’s “control person”. But after the latest restructuring, he will hold just 6.2% of the voting rights according to local media reports.
Meanwhile, shares of Alibaba Group Holdings traded 8% higher on Monday morning giving rise to speculation about the company's potential IPO revival plans. However, Ant's spokesperson said the group “does not have a plan for an IPO” in response to the media enquiry made by Reuters.
In other positive news for the company, Ant Group’s Alipay, the world’s largest online payment platform, which boasts millions of monthly users in China, has been building a new cash-free travel experience for the Asian consumer. As mainland re-opens after a self-imposed isolation of almost three years, the e-payment system will directly benefit from businesses across Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian markets which are welcoming Chinese tourists.