Tuesday 3 August 2021 2:47 pm

Jack Ma’s Ant Group emerges as a steady ship amid China's tech crackdown

Fintech giant Ant Group, the brainchild of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, has emerged a steady ship in its first-quarter amid a rocky political climate in China.

Revenue rose to $31.8bn in the three months ending 30 June, a little below analyst forecasts.

Following intense scrutiny from local regulators, the Chinese fintech giant has shifted into a holding company which means it will be regulated more like a bank.

Ant group was eyeing a $200bn valuation in August last year – after what would have been the world’s largest initial public offering (IPO).

However, the plans were squashed by authorities amid a clampdown on large tech companies.

If China had not thwarted the Hong Kong and Shanghai IPO plans, Ant Group would have a third more valuable than Wall Street heavyweights Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley combined.

Chairman Eric Jing has vowed to staff that the company will go public, eventually, although it is hard to imagine it will secure an as high valuation as last year.

Beyond fintech, Beijing has been hawkish on corporate regulations across ride-hailing, education technology (edtech), food delivery and most recently gaming.

Fellow Chinese tech giant Tencent saw its shares fall by around 10 per cent earlier today after Chinese state media labelled video gaming as “spiritual opium” – which wiped some $60bn off its value. 

The article by Economic Information Daily warned that a “new type of electronic drug” was “advancing by leaps and bounds”. 

Tencent’s rivals NetEase and XD also saw share prices fall in response to the article which has since been removed from the Economic Information Daily website.