Jack Ma relinquishes control of fintech giant Ant Group

Jack Ma relinquishes control of fintech giant Ant Group

Chinese billionaire and Alibaba founder Jack Ma will no longer control fintech giant Ant Group as part of recent changes to the company’s corporate structure.

Ant Group officially announced that Ma has agreed to relinquish control of Ant Group as part of the company’s further optimization and restructuring of corporate governance.

Before the change, Ma was the controlling person in Ant, and exercised control over the company through related entities in addition to her 10% stake in Ant.

Once the restructuring process is complete, no single shareholder will have control over Ant, the company said in a statement. Major shareholders such as Hangzhou Junhan and Hangzhou Junao will independently exercise their voting rights in Ant, the firm noted.

“The adjustment will not result in any change in the financial interests of any Ant Group shareholders and their beneficiaries,” Ant added.

Ant’s restructuring and Ma relinquishing control of the company could have a positive impact on the firm in the long term, according to some analysts.

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Wang Pengbo, senior financial analyst at BoTong Analysys, believes that the new company structure with more diversified voting rights is more stable. “It paves the way for it to go public in the future, although an IPO in the immediate future is highly unlikely,” he noted.

Amid the news that Ma relinquished control of Ant, shares in Ant-affiliated company Alibaba have risen significantly. Alibaba ( BABA ) shares are up nearly 10% on the New York Stock Exchange since Ant made the announcement, according to data from TradingView.

Alibaba stock 30-day price chart. Source: TradingView

As previously reported, Ant sought to conduct the largest initial public offering (IPO) of 2020, planning to raise around $30 billion. The Chinese government eventually chose to stop Ant’s IPO, as local authorities wanted to assert their power over private business.

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After the IPO suspension, Ant has continued to actively explore the benefits of blockchain and digital assets. Owning the world’s largest digital payment platform Alipay, Ant continued to be involved in the development of China’s national digital currency after starting cooperation with the People’s Bank of China back in 2017.

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The company is also among Chinese tech giants that have created blockchain alliances in recent years for related operations. The company has been actively developing its blockchain business, AntChain, and introduced new products in 2022.

Despite his apparent interest in blockchain and related technologies, Ant has still moved to comply with China’s negative stance on crypto. As Cointelegraph reported in March 2022, Ant Group was among firms that enforced some restrictions on their non-fungible token platforms for fear of government intervention.