Jack Ma’s Ant Group Bows to Beijing With Company Overhaul
China’s central bank said Ant will apply to become a financial holding company, subjecting it to regulations similar to those governing banks
What Happened to China's Superstar Entrepreneur Jack Ma
After Jack Ma criticized Chinese regulators, Beijing scuttled the initial public offering of his fintech giant Ant and he largely disappeared from public view. WSJ looks at recent videos of the billionaire to show how he got himself into trouble.
Updated April 12, 2021 8:23 am ET
Ant Group Co., the financial-technology giant controlled by billionaire Jack Ma, will apply to become a financial holding company overseen by China’s central bank, overhauling its business to adapt to a new era of tighter regulation for internet companies.
In a statement, the People’s Bank of China said Ant representatives were summoned to a meeting Monday with four regulatory agencies that also included the country’s banking, securities and foreign-exchange overseers. It said a “comprehensive, viable rectification plan” for Ant has been formulated under the regulators’ supervision over the past few months.
The directive follows an intense regulatory assault on Mr. Ma’s business empire that began with the suspension of the company’s blockbuster initial public offering in November. Ant had been on track to sell more than $34 billion worth of stock and list on stock exchanges in Hong Kong and Shanghai, when Beijing pulled the plug on the dealafter Mr. Ma criticized financial regulators in a public speech.
In January, The Wall Street Journal reported that Ant was planning to fall fully in line with China’s financial regulations by turning itself into a financial holding company, essentially subjecting Ant to regulations similar to those governing banks.