Ant Group’s Jack Ma Cedes Control as China Pressures Big Tech

Ant Group’s founder is set to give up control of the Chinese FinTech.

Billionaire Jack Ma will no longer hold majority voting rights in the company, Ant Group said in a statement Saturday (Jan. 7).

As PYMNTS noted last year when reports of Ma’s possible step back first emerged, the move further separates the company from its affiliate Alibaba after regulators in China increased their focus on Big Tech firms there.

Before regulators put the listing on hold, Ant Group had been on course for a record initial public offering (IPO) that was expected to raise $34.4 billion and would have valued the company at around $316 billion.

The company told Reuters on Sunday (Jan. 8) it had no plans for an IPO.

Ma had control of his 50.5% stake in Ant Group via an investment vehicle called Hangzhou Yunbo. He owned a 34% stake in Hangzhou Yunbo, with the remaining 66% split between Ant CEO Eric Jing, former CEO Simon Hu, and veteran Alibaba executive and former Ant Non-Executive Director Fang Jiang.

According to the company’s statement, the four will “will terminate their acting-in-concert arrangement for the voting of shares of Yunbo Investment,” as part of what Ant calls an “adjustment” of its shareholding structure.

“No shareholder will, alone or jointly with another shareholder, have the power to control the outcome of Ant Group’s general meetings,” the company said.

“No shareholder will have the power to nominate the majority of Ant Group’s board of directors. Therefore, no shareholder, alone or jointly with other parties, will have control over Ant Group.”

Last year saw a number of leadership changes at Ant Group. In August, Eric Jing Xiandong stepped down as legal representative and chairman of, the company’s payments business. Another group of executives departed in July.

China’s increased regulatory oversight of Ant Group and Alibaba was part of a broader crackdown on the tech sector, with officials giving out billions in antitrust fines. It led shares in Big Tech firms to plummet, with some companies putting listing plans on hold.

News of Ma’s departure comes days after China’s Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission approved a request by Ant to expand the registered capital held by its consumer finance group from 8 billion yuan to 18.5 billion yuan ($2.7 billion), marking a crucial step on its IPO journey.