The Chinese authorities are preparing to fine the Ant Group of the Chinese billionaire Jack Ma 18.2 billion yuan. That says the Reuters news agency based on several anonymous sources.
The move would also herald the end of government regulation of the financial services company.
The Chinese government intervened two years ago at Ant Group, a subsidiary of the well-known Chinese webshop Alibaba. Chinese regulators blocked Ant’s planned IPO because they feared the company would pose a risk to the stability of China’s financial system. Ant’s IPO should have been the largest in the world.
Shortly before the government interference, CEO Jack Ma had been critical of the financial regulators. After that, he disappeared from public view for a long time.
For a long time, the Chinese government took stricter action against the large technology groups in the country that have a lot of power and, until recently, were only bound by a few rules. In April 2021, for example, Alibaba was fined a record 18.2 billion yuan for abusing its dominant market position. But strict government action has eased somewhat in recent months as part of measures to boost the economy after the blows it received from the corona pandemic.
According to Reuters, the fine could be officially announced in the second quarter of 2023. In time, Ant could go for an IPO again, the news agency says.