Jack Ma knocked out of China’s richest man tag with empire got into govt scrutiny

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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Jack Ma
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The Chinese business tycoon Jack Ma has stepped out of the position of China’s richest man, the Hurun Global Rich List reveals, as his peers thrived while his empire was put under heavy scrutiny by Chinese regulators.

In 2020 and 2019, Ma and his family had held the prime position for China’s richest in the Hurun Global Rich List but now got pushed back into fourth place following bottled water maker Nongfu Spring’s Zhong Shanshan, Tencent Holding’s Pony Ma and eCommerce upstart Pinduoduo’s Collin Huang.

Mr. Ma’s fall out of the top three spots comes after Chinese regulators restrained Ant Group and Alibaba on anti-trust issues, the Hurun report explained.

The recent distress on Alibaba and Ant Group founder was triggered by an October speech in which he questioned the regulatory system of China which ended up in the suspension of Ant Group’s $37 billion IPO, which would have become the world’s stock market debut.

Since then, the Chinese regulators have tightened anti-trust scrutiny on the country’s tech sector, with much of the pressure being faced by eCommerce giant Alibaba, the market regulator launched an official anti-trust probe against Alibaba last December.

Chinese regulators have also started to tightly scrutinize the fintech sector and asked Ant to restructure some of its businesses into a financial holding company to be regulated like traditional financial firms.

Mr. Ma, who is not known for running away from the public, then disappeared from the limelight for nearly three months, igniting frantic speculations about him, then he re-emerged in January with a 50-second video appearance ending all rumors.

The current richest man of China, Mr. Zhong, debuted at the top spot with a fortune of $85 billion, because of the share price performances of Nongfu Spring and vaccine maker Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise, which he also controls.

Tencent’s Ma saw his wealth increase by 70 percent over the year to reach $74 billion while Pinduoduo’s Huang’s fortune grew 283 percent to $69 billion, the list said. In comparison, the wealth of Mr. Ma and his family only witnessed a 22 percent growth, to touch $55 billion.

Zhang Yiming, the founder of TikTok owner ByteDance, got into the top five rankings among Chinese billionaires in Hurun’s Global Rich List for the first time, with an estimated personal wealth of $54 billion.

Also Read: India’s Ambani is back on top of Asia’s richest list