United Kingdom — A list of the richest man in China recently revealed that Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba and Ant Group, is no longer in the prestigious lineup. This after he angered Beijing that his empire was place under heavy scrutiny by Chinese regulators.
Ma and his family held the top spot for China’s richest in the Hurun Global Rich List in 2019 and 2020.
This time, he has fallen below the top three “after China’s regulators reined in Ant Group and Alibaba on anti-trust issues,” the Hurun reports. His companies trail in fourth place behind bottled water producer Nongfu Spring’s Zhong Shanshan, Tencent Holding’s Pony Ma, and e-commerce upstart Pinduoduo’s Collin Huang, the latest list show.
He blasted China’s regulatory system on 24 October during his speech last year. That move led to the suspension of Ant Group’s $37 billion IPO just days before the fintech giant’s public listing.
Since then, regulators have tightened anti-trust scrutiny on the country’s tech sector, with e-commerce giant Alibaba taking much of the blow. The market regulator launched an official anti-trust probe into Alibaba in December.
The restrictions applied on his companies saw the one-time darling of China’s entrepreneurs slip down the pecking order.
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.
Not known for shying away from the limelight, Ma then disappeared from the public eye for about three months, which triggered frenzied speculations about his whereabouts. He re-emerged in January with a 50-second video appearance.
The Hurun Global Rich List meanwhile, showed 259 Chinese broke into the billion-dollar club in 2020, more than the rest of the world combined. That brought the country a total of 1,058 billionaires – the first to break the 1,000 marks.
By comparison, the US created just 70 new billionaires last year bringing its overall total to 696.
China, where the Covid first emerged and had been accused of covering up its early spread that led to the pandemic, experienced an economic growth while the rest of the world’s economies took a downturn as brought about by the disease. (JSM/JuanManila)