Jack Ma

Jack Ma loses title as China’s richest man after coming under Beijing’s scrutiny

Reuters
Jack Ma loses title as China’s richest man after coming under Beijing’s scrutiny

NO LONGER RICHEST. Alibaba Group co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma attends the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai, China, September 17, 2018.

Photo by Aly Song/Reuters

Alibaba founder Jack Ma drops to 4th place in a list of China's wealthiest after 'regulators reined in Ant Group and Alibaba on antitrust issues'

Alibaba and Ant Group founder Jack Ma has lost the title of China’s richest man, a list published on Tuesday, March 2, showed, as his peers prospered while his empire was put under heavy scrutiny by Chinese regulators.

Jack Ma loses title as China’s richest man after coming under Beijing’s scrutiny

Ma and his family had held the top spot for China’s richest in the Hurun Global Rich List in 2020 and 2019 but now trail in 4th place behind bottled water maker Nongfu Spring’s Zhong Shanshan, Tencent Holding’s Pony Ma, and e-commerce upstart Pinduoduo’s Collin Huang, the latest list showed.

His fall out of the top 3 comes “after China’s regulators reined in Ant Group and Alibaba on antitrust issues,” the Hurun report said.

Ma’s recent woes were triggered by an October 24 speech in which he blasted China’s regulatory system, leading to the suspension of his Ant Group’s $37-billion initial public offering just days before the fintech giant’s public listing.

Regulators have since tightened antitrust scrutiny on the country’s tech sector, with Alibaba taking much of the heat; the market regulator launched an official antitrust probe into Alibaba in December.

Chinese regulators also began to tighten their grip on the fintech sector and have asked Ant to fold some of its businesses into a financial holding company to be regulated like traditional financial firms.

Ma, who is not known for shying away from the limelight, then disappeared from the public eye for about 3 months, triggering frenzied speculation about his whereabouts. He reemerged in January with a 50-second video appearance.

China’s current richest man, Zhong, made his first appearance at the top spot with a fortune of 550 billion yuan ($85 billion), largely thanks to the share price performances of Nongfu Spring and vaccine maker Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise, which he also controls.

Tencent’s Ma saw his wealth swell 70% over the year to 480 billion while Pinduoduo’s Huang’s fortune grew 283% to 450 billion yuan, the list said. In comparison, the wealth of Ma and his family grew 22%, to 360 billion yuan.

Zhang Yiming, founder of TikTok owner ByteDance, broke into the top 5 rankings among Chinese billionaires in Hurun’s Global Rich List for the first time, with an estimated personal wealth of $54 billion. – Rappler.com