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China fined Ant Group $985 million

Chinese authorities on Friday announced a fine of nearly $1 billion for financial technology firm Ant Group, nearly three years after regulators halted the company’s plan for a record-breaking public offering that has sparked intense government scrutiny of technology firms. started the period.

charge announced This is being seen by China’s top securities regulator as a sign that authorities are easing their scrutiny of technology companies, ending a period of tougher regulation for the industry. officials said earlier this year they’ll start easing surveillance of tech firms. A record was set after the 2020 crackdown on Ant $2.8 billion antitrust fine For e-commerce giant Alibaba, a subsidiary of Ant and a $1.2 billion fine Didi for ride sharing service.

Regulators fined Ant and its subsidiaries 7.1 billion renminbi ($985 million), and ordered the company to shut down its crowdfunding platform Xianghubao for medical costs. The regulator also announced a change in its focus as “most of the major problems in the technology giant’s financial business have been fixed.”

ant group said in one statement that it has been “actively pursuing business reforms since 2020” and that it will “seriously and conscientiously comply with the terms of the penalty.”

Ant, founded in 2014, is one of the world’s largest online financial technology companies. In November 2020, Chinese authorities blocked Ant’s blockbuster initial public offering days before it was set to raise an estimated $34 billion in Hong Kong and Shanghai. world’s biggest ipo,

A month later, Chinese regulators ordered Ant to reform its business. People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, Said Ant was “indifferent” to the law at the time. The central bank ordered the company to improve transparency, strengthen corporate governance and set up a holding company.

The investigation into Ant comes after its founder and billionaire entrepreneur Jack Ma publicly criticized Chinese regulators in 2020 for stifling innovation and being overly cautious. Then, Mr. Ma, the most prominent Chinese tech entrepreneur, disappeared from the public eye.

Earlier this year, Ant Group said Mr. Ma would relinquish control of the company. Around the same time, China’s central bank said it was nearing the end of its regulatory crackdown on Big Tech. Mr. Ma’s recent reappearance in mainland China after spending much of his time abroad has fueled speculation that he could return to a bigger role at Alibaba. Last month, in a jiffy, two long time officers The people who helped Mr Ma set up Alibaba were put in charge of the company.

alibaba group said in march That it would become a holding company and reorganize the group into six separate business units with their own chief executive and board of directors. The decision could help the entities complete successful IPOs and also ease Beijing’s concerns over the concentration of power and influence of the tech giant.

In November 2020, before the IPO was halted by the Chinese authorities, Ant’s estimated value was reduced from $235 billion to around $63.8 billion. according to bloomberg,

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