Chinese billionaire and founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, is set to lose his voting rights in the fintech company, Ant Group.
This comes as Ant, which owns the world’s largest mobile payment platform Alipay, said it was streamlining voting rights to prevent any one shareholder from having a controlling vote.
In a statement released on Saturday, Ant, which owns the world’s largest mobile payment platform Alipay, indicated that Ma’s previous control of 53.46% of voting rights would be reduced to 6.2%.
Why the company is restructuring: Although some analysts believe the action is at the behest of the Chinese authorities, Ant Group in the statement said:
“The adjustment is being implemented to further enhance the stability of our corporate structure and sustainability of our long-term development.
“The main result of the Adjustment will be to change the exercise of voting rights of Ant Group’s major shareholders, from Mr Jack Ma exercising voting rights jointly with persons acting in concert, to each of ten individuals (including the founder, representative of our management and employees) exercising their voting rights independently.”
Beijing regulators thwarted the company’s massive planned initial public offering in Hong Kong in 2020 after Ma, in a speech at a summit in Shanghai, accused financial authorities of stifling growth. Since then, Ma has maintained a low profile.
Once China’s richest man, Ma’s net worth has fallen by more than $25 billion since he disappeared from public view, per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The Ant Group: Ant, founded by Ma in 2014, operates Alipay, the world’s largest digital payments platform. The platform is used by hundreds of millions of people every month in China and elsewhere. It is also involved in consumer lending and insurance products distribution,
The Ant Group is an affiliate company of the multinational technology company Alibaba Group, also founded by Ma, which operates the popular shopping platforms Taobao and Tmall. Alibaba was also hit with a record $2.75 billion (€2.58 billion) fine for alleged unfair practices under the regulatory crackdown.