Retail in Asia


Jack Ma relinquishes control of Ant Group

Chinese fintech giant Ant Group announced on Saturday that billionaire entrepreneur Jack Ma plans to relinquish his control of the company.

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The company said in a statement that after an ownership restructuring, “no shareholder, alone or with other parties” will have “control over Ant Group”.

Ma previously possessed more than 50 percent of voting rights at Ant, but the changes will mean that his share falls to 6.2 percent, according to Reuters calculations. Ma owns a 10 percent stake in Ant.

The move comes after Chinese regulators pulled the plug on the company’s stock market debut in 2022, amidst a crackdown on the nation’s tech sector targeting the Ma, who also helmed sister e-commerce giant, Alibaba Group.

Ant’s USD 37 billion initial public offering would have been the world’s largest IPO at the time.

Analysts believe a relinquishing of control could make way for the company to revive its IPO. However, changes announced by the group are likely to result in a further delay due to listing regulations.

China’s domestic A-share market requires companies to wait three years after a change in control to list. The wait is two years on Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style STAR market, and one year in Hong Kong, according to Reuters.

Ant is also about to complete its two-year regulatory-driven restructuring, with Chinese authorities set to impose a fine of more than USD 1 billion on the firm, Reuters reported in November.

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Last month, the government said it would allow Ant Group to raise USD 1.5 billion in capital for its consumer finance unit.