Ant Group, the financial-services company established and controlled by the ecommerce mogul, Jack Ma, has considered restructuring itself after demands and pressure from Chinese officials who have faced his business empire .
People who are familiar with the issue told the Journal that Ant Group plans to change to a financial holding firm which will be overseen by Central Bank, China, and plans have been submitted already to regulators.
This change was as a result of continuous demand from Chinese regulators. The effect of this is that , it will stop Ant from going further with some of its plans, and be open for the rest of its work to be overseen more tightly.
This signals a remarkable restriction from Chinese officials, who are controlling one of the most flamboyant, successful, and well-known figures in Chinese business.
Jack Ma made his wealth working with Alibaba, the e-commerce company founded by him in 1999 and that made him one of the richest in China, with a net worth as high as $53.9bn.
However, Ma is no more the head of Alibaba, but has remained a major shareholder.
Ma’s conflict with the state got intense when he spoke against China’s financial regulatory system on October 24, as Ant Group was preparing itself for an IPO.
He said that China was going on the path of global rules which are part of “an old people’s club.”
At a point, Ma then went off public scene for months, after an October-31 event. He re-emerged in a video-conference clip on January 20.
His absence from the public after his clash with the government indicated the disappearance of famous Chinese actress, Fan Bingbing , who had disappeared for 4 months in 2019 while authorities was investigating her for evasion of tax .
When she later came back, she was, reportedly, praising the Chinese state.
On November 2, China came up with new regulations that got the Ant Group IPO suspended.
It was also reported, in December, Ma tried to end the conflict by offering the Chinese government parts of Ant Group. But the offer wasn’t accepted, that was how Ant’s hopes of an IPO ended.
On December 23, Chinese regulators introduced an antitrust investigation into Alibaba, widening the trouble for Jack Ma.
People who are familiar with the whole issue told The Wall Street Journal that plans to change the company into a financial holding company could be concluded by mid-February.