Jack Ma's Wealth Dwindles As Ant Group's Valuation Plummets

Jack Ma, the renowned business tycoon and co-founder of Alibaba, has seen a significant decline in his fortune over the past three years.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Ma’s wealth has dropped by $4.1 billion in the past year alone, primarily due to the sharp devaluation of Ant Group, the fintech giant he co-founded but no longer controls.

Once regarded as Asia’s wealthiest individual, Ma currently holds a 9.9 percent stake in Ant Group. His net worth now stands at approximately $30 billion, less than half of the $61.2 billion peak recorded in 2020, prior to the tumultuous events that unfolded that year.

Ant Group, renowned for operating China’s ubiquitous Alipay digital payments system, is currently undergoing a share buyback that values the company at $78.5 billion. This marks a staggering 75 percent decline in valuation, equating to a loss of $230 billion from its 2020 valuation.

When considering the combined market capitalization loss of Ant Group and Alibaba, the figure amounts to a staggering $877 billion, based on peak share prices observed in late October 2020. It was during this time that Ma delivered a landmark speech, criticizing Chinese financial regulators and banks, which triggered a chain of events leading to intensified regulatory scrutiny and an unprecedented crackdown on private enterprises in China’s tech sector.

Consequently, Chinese regulators halted Ant Group’s highly anticipated $37 billion initial public offering in November 2020 and mandated the restructuring of its business operations. The repercussions of Ma’s speech rippled through the industry, resulting in heightened regulatory oversight of numerous tech companies across the country.

Since then, Ma has maintained a low public profile. Reports suggest that he has spent time in Japan, where his friend and Alibaba investor, SoftBank CEO Masa Son, resides. He has also taken on the role of a visiting professor at a Tokyo university and dedicated more time to philanthropy. Moreover, Ma has distanced himself from the companies he co-founded.

In January, Ma relinquished control of Ant Group after a two-year overhaul of its business model as directed by regulators, transitioning from consumer lending to insurance products. Additionally, he stepped down as chairman of Alibaba in 2019 upon reaching the age of 55.

Last week, Chinese financial regulators imposed fines totaling $984 million on Ant Group and its subsidiaries, citing violations related to consumer protection and corporate governance. Analysts interpret these fines as a potential signal that the regulatory crackdown has finally come to an end.

In March, Alibaba announced plans to restructure its operations into six separate units, each led by its own CEO and board of directors. The company anticipates that this new structure will enhance agility and unlock greater value for investors.

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