Jack Ma, billionaire co-founder of Alibaba Group, will no longer be the controlling person of Ant Group, the Chinese fintech company he helped create. This move is reportedly intended to decrease Ant’s reliance on Ma and comes in the wake of the government’s crackdown on the company, which included the cancellation of its $34 billion initial public offering in November 2020. Ma will retain voting rights in an entity that controls Ant, along with nine other Ant executives and employees who will also be given voting rights. These individuals will have the power to exercise their votes independently of each other and of Ma. Ant, which owns the popular digital payment platform Alipay, has been required to make significant changes to its operations in response to the government’s actions.
Jack Ma co-founded Alibaba, an e-commerce company, in 1999 and expanded its operations with the creation of subsidiary Ant Group in 2014. Under his leadership, Alibaba became a $454 billion empire and revolutionized shopping in China, making Ma one of the wealthiest people in the world with a net worth of almost $42 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. In 2019, Ma resigned as chairman of Alibaba Group.
Jack Ma has largely been absent from the public eye since he criticized Chinese regulators in a much-discussed speech just before Ant’s intended initial public offering in 2020. Despite retiring from Alibaba in 2019, he remained in control of Ant. Both Alibaba and Ant, which were co-founded by Ma, have been moving in different directions in response to the Chinese government’s efforts to regulate large internet platforms.
For context on the tech mogul, Ma had gone through several difficulties early in life. He failed his college entrance exam multiple times before getting accepted. After graduation, he was rejected from 31 jobs. Jack even applied to KFC, and out of the 24 applicants, he was the only one who got rejected. It was this series of hardships that formed the beginnings of his entrepreneurial journey to ultimately becoming one of the world’s richest men.