Ant Group forced to reinvent itself under pressure from Beijing

Posted on Jan 29, 2021, 1:00 PMUpdated Jan 29, 2021, 1:40 PM

Jack Ma is back. After three months of absence, the Chinese billionaire resurfaced on Wednesday, January 20, in a short video speaking to rural teachers at a philanthropic event. The few seconds of images reassured investors, who immediately made Alibaba stock jump in Hong Kong and New York. The relief was short lived. If Jack Ma has emerged from the shadows, the troubles of the Alibaba empire and its financial arm, Ant Group, have only just begun.

A few hours after the video suitably relayed by the official media, the Chinese central bank published a bill directly targeting Ant Group’s core business, namely the Alipay mobile payment system. Still under discussion, the text drastically strengthens the supervision of non-bank payment institutions. A step up for the payments giant, two months after the spectacular suspension of its IPO, which was announced as the largest in history in the world (34 billion dollars).

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