Alibaba parts ways with Ant Group executives

In China, the majority of Ant Group executives who were in partnership with Alibaba have withdrawn, allowing the e-commerce giant to restructure as authorities closely monitor the activities of the two companies founded by Jack Ma .

End of a partnership dating from 2010

In an annual report published on Tuesday July 26, Alibaba specifies in particular that the CEO of Ant Group, Eric Jing, as well as its chief technology officer, Ni Xingjun, are no longer its partners. In addition, Simon Hu and Shuai Wang, two executives of Alibaba, have retired and are therefore no longer part of the partnership.

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Now, only Alibaba staff are allowed to become partners. This collaboration, established in 2010, aimed to preserve the culture envisioned by the company’s founders, Jack Ma and Daniel Zhang. In particular, it allowed them to maintain control of the entity when it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014. The arrangement, for example, allowed senior executives to appoint a majority of the board of directors for shareholder approval. .

For its part, Ant Group, which owns the ultra-popular payment system Alipay, has reorganized its board of directors in recent months, increasing the number of independent directors to 4 out of 8 members in total. She also reduced the number of non-executive directors of Alibaba from three to two, reports the specialized media. Bloomberg. The fintech specifies that this restructuring “ part of our ongoing efforts to improve corporate governance “.

The Chinese flag.

In China, state control over the tech sector is growing. Photography: Yan Ke / Unsplash

Alibaba and Ant Group are in the sights of Beijing

These various changes at two of the biggest jewels of the Chinese tech sector are not due to chance, but stem from a huge takeover of the entire sector by Beijing, an approach which began at the end of 2020 when Ant Group was about to make the biggest IPO in history.

At the time, authorities suspended the IPO and moved to regulate all Chinese tech companies, with an initial focus on fintech. Objective: to keep control over these entities whose power was probably becoming too important in the eyes of Beijing. As a result, Alibaba was fined a record 2.3 billion euros for anti-competitive practices, while Ant Group was forced to announce its restructuring into a financial holding company, which it is currently undergoing. operate.

Since then, laws have multiplied in order to better control Chinese companies, and the latter are forced to modify their structuring to escape the wrath of the Communist Party.

Alibaba soon to be listed in Hong Kong?

However, it would seem that Alibaba’s many efforts are finally paying off. The company has indeed announced that it will apply for a primary listing in Hong Kong, which would allow it to be included in the stock market connection link with the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges.

As for being Ant Group, however, no IPO planned for the moment although the firm specified in 2021 that it would go public one day or another.

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