China has stepped up its campaign to rein in the vast tech empire controlled by Jack Ma, co-founder of the Ali Baba And one of the richest people in the country.
Authorities in Beijing, who ordered an investigation on Christmas Eve Allegations of “monopolistic practices” by the online retail giant of MaNow, he has ordered his fintech company, Ant Group, to scale back its operations.
Pan Gongsheng, Deputy Governor of the Chinese Central Bank, He said Ant’s governance was not “sound” and ordered to “return to its origins” as a payment services provider.
Ban, who has summoned Ant Company representatives to a meeting with regulators in Beijing on Saturday, said you should “strictly rectify financial activities related to credit, insurance and illegal wealth management.” Analysts said that Ant divisions that provide these services are the fastest-growing and most profitable operations in the business.
Ant Group said in a statement that it would establish a “correction working group” and “fully implement the requirements” requested by the regulator.
“We will expand the scope and scale of our openness to win-win cooperation, review and correct our work in protecting consumer rights, and comprehensively improve our business compliance and our sense of social responsibility,” the company said. “Ant will develop a timely correction plan and schedule of action and will seek regulatory guidance in the process.”
Beijing’s latest battle against Ma – who was revered as China’s greatest businessman in modern times until he began speaking out against strict regulations – erased 8% of the value of Alibaba’s stock price in Hong Kong trading on Monday.
Alibaba shares have lost more than a quarter of their value since October 24, when Ma accused China’s financial regulators and state-owned banks of operating a “pawnshop” mentality at a high-profile summit in Shanghai.
Chinese Communist Party officials responded, accusing a company of violating various regulations and interfering to block $ 37 billion (£ 27 billion) Ant Group float Just two days ago, it was scheduled to start doing business in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
The crackdown on businesses wiped out more than $ 10 billion (£ 7.4 billion) of his wealth, and placed him second on the list of China’s richest people with an estimated $ 49 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The richest person in China right now is Bonnie Ma (unrelated), chairman and CEO of a company Competing technology company Tencent.
Zhang Zihua, chief investment officer of Beijing Yunyi Asset, asset manager, said that investors are concerned that Beijing’s crackdown against some companies could continue even if they implement all required changes. “The antitrust investigation in Alibaba has not determined the sanctions yet, which worries investors greatly,” he said.
Li Chengdong, a Beijing-based technology analyst, said the action against Ant was also weighing on other Chinese tech companies. “The new regulations are hurting the big internet platforms, so Tencent and other tech companies are also seeing their share prices drop,” Lee said. “Alibaba is now the target of the regulators so the reaction is stronger.”
On Christmas Eve, China’s State Market Watch Department said it had ordered an investigation Ali Baba Group Holdings Ltd regarding “suspected monopolistic practices”.
An editorial in the People’s Daily, the state-owned Chinese newspaper, said efforts to prevent monopoly and anti-competitive practices were “requirements for improving the socialist market economic system and promoting high-quality development.”
“This investigation does not mean that the state’s stance towards encouraging and supporting the platform’s economy has changed.”
Analysts and policy experts said Beijing’s move against companies was likely caused by his outspoken speech at the Bond Summit in Shanghai on October 24, criticizing arrogant regulation and state dominance of banks.
“We shouldn’t use a train station management method to organize the airport,” Ma said, According to transcript. We cannot organize the future by yesterday’s means.
“It is impossible for the pawnshop mentality to support the financial demand for global development over the next 30 years,” Ma said. Alibaba started with a one-bedroom apartment in China 21 years ago. “We must utilize our technological capabilities today and build a credit system based on big data to get rid of the foreclosure mentality.”
He was speaking alongside senior officials such as Wang Qishan, a former security tsar and the right-hand man of Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Yi Gang, Governor of the Central Bank of China; Wuzu Jiayi, Deputy Minister of Finance. Ma’s comments have been circulating on Chinese social media and seen as a direct attack on government officials.
In November, Ant Group was preparing for what would be the largest initial public offering in the world When Beijing closed it all of a sudden48 hours before the start of trading in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Prior to the comment, investors had estimated Ant at $ 316 billion (£ 234 billion), more than the ratings of the largest Chinese banks and those of the US and UK.
At the time, the hiatus was blamed for “changes in the financial technology regulatory environment and other major issues,” but analysts interpreted the intervention. As a warning to what.
Bill Bishop, author of the China-focused newsletter, writes, “The party has once again reminded all private entrepreneurs that no matter how wealthy and successful you are, it can pull the rug out from under your feet at any time.”