Alibaba founder Jack Ma has ceded control of fintech giant Ant Group under a corporate restructuring which sees his stake in the firm reduced to just six percent.
Ant Group is nearing the completion of a two-year restructuring which which will turn the fintech giant into a financial holding company subject to capital requirements similar to those for banks.
Ant has been in Chinese regulators’ crosshairs for years. In late 2020, a planned $37 billion IPO was derailed by moves to impose tighter restrictions on fintech firms entering the banking market.
The regulatory intervention came after Ma had told a financial conference that traditional banks had a “pawn-shop mentality”.
Ma disappeared from view for three months after the last minute collapse of the IPO and has since kept a low profile.
In a statement, Ant Group says the shareholding structure will be more transparent and diversified under the new arrangements. “The Adjustment will not affect the day-to-day operations of Ant Group,” states the company. “We will continue to serve the real economy by leveraging digital technology, implementing our sustainable development strategy, optimizing our corporate governance, investing in cutting-edge technologies, and creating greater value for society.”