Jack Ma to cede control of Ant Group

Jack Ma will cede control of Chinese fintech giant Ant Group, the company has announced, following a Communist Party crackdown on the nation's tech sector that targeted the charismatic billionaire.    

One of China's most recognisable entrepreneurs, Ma once exemplified a generation of Chinese technology moguls with his rags-to-riches personal tale and penchant for public showmanship.    

But the former English teacher has retreated from public view since Beijing torched Ant's planned initial public offering in Hong Kong in 2020 following his barbed comments about government regulators.    

His company said in a statement on Jan. 7 it was adjusting its ownership structure so that "no shareholder, alone or jointly with other parties, will have control over Ant Group".    

Laying out the firm's previous complex structure, the announcement showed Ma indirectly controlled 53.46 percent of Ant's shares and deemed him the company's "control person".    

He will hold just 6.2 percent of the voting rights following the adjustment, based on information in the statement.  

Ant's planned IPO would have been a world-record listing at the time and its damaging withdrawal came as Ma's other business interests creaked under official scrutiny.    

Beijing also hit Alibaba, the internet titan co-founded by Ma that operates popular Chinese shopping platforms Taobao and Tmall, with a record $2.75 billion fine for alleged unfair practices.    

In a sign that the official grip may now be loosening, authorities said last month Ant had won approval to raise 10.5 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) for its consumer finance arm.

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