Jack Ma cedes control of Ant Group

Following Beijing’s crackdown on the country’s digital sector, which singled out the billionaire, Jack Ma will relinquish control of the massive fintech company Ant Group. Ant Group announced the modification to its ownership structure so that “no shareholder, alone or jointly with other parties, will have control over Ant Group” in the release issued by the firm.

Ant’s planned US$37 billion IPO in November 2020, which would have been the biggest ever, was abruptly shelved. The financial technology company was forced to restructure as a result, and rumours surfaced that the Chinese tycoon might eventually have to relinquish control.

“The adjustment is being implemented to further enhance the stability of our corporate structure and sustainability of our long-term development,” the release further stated.

Ma was the Ant Group’s “control person,” having indirect control over 53.46 percent of the company’s shares. However, according to reports in the local media, he will only control 6.2% of the vote rights after the most recent restructure.

On Monday morning, shares of Alibaba Group Holdings surged 8% higher, sparking rumours about the company’s likely plans to revive its IPO. However, an Ant spokeswoman has been quoted as saying that the company “does not have a plan for an IPO.”

Other good news for the business is the development of a new cash-free travel experience for Asian consumers by Ant Group’s Alipay, the largest online payment network in the world with millions of monthly users in China.

The e-payment system will immediately benefit from firms in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, and other Southeast Asian markets that are embracing Chinese tourists as the mainland reopens after a self-imposed isolation of almost three years.

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