A crackdown on Chinese tech giants by regulators in Beijing is estimated to have wiped $87bn (£63bn) off the personal fortunes of tycoons such as Alibaba’s Jack Ma in the last month alone.
Authorities have launched a fierce campaign against some of the country’s biggest tech firms amid concerns about their escalating power, sparking sharp declines in their share prices.
Beijing last year blocked the stock market listing of Ma’s Ant Group — which would have been the largest IPO ever — and has recently ramped up regulatory pressure on other companies such as ride-hailing app Didi and mobile fitness app Keep.
Since Didi’s turbulent US stock market float at the end of June, the combined net worth of two dozen of China’s wealthiest tech and biotech tycoons has dropped 16 per cent, according to calculations by the Financial Times.
Colin Huang, co-founder of e-commerce platform Pinduoduo, is the worst hit with paper losses of $15.6bn — or a third of his wealth.
Pony Ma, founder of tech conglomerate Tencent, has lost more than $12bn — or 22 per cent — of his wealth, and has slipped into third place in the rankings of China’s richest men behind Alibaba boss Ma.
Ma’s fortune has declined only $2.6bn over the same period, but is down $13bn since the Ant Group float was blocked in November.
China’s tech clampdown on tech has focused on companies’ growing shift into financial services, as well as data security concerns.
The country’s education sector has also been hit after Beijing said major tutoring firms would have to restructure to become non-profit organisations.
While China’s leading tech figures have suffered a sharp hit to their personal wealth, tycoons in other sectors have seen their fortunes grow.
Zhong Shanshan, head of bottled water empire Nongfu Spring, overtook Jack Ma and Pony Ma to become China’s richest person last year with a personal wealth of just over $72bn.Some of the country’s top automotive bosses have also benefited thanks to an increased focus on electric vehicles.