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Jack Ma Loses title as the wealthiest man of China after the scrutiny of Beijing

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PEOPLE— Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba and Ant Group, has lost the title of the most rich man in China. The list published on Tuesday shows that his peers prospered while China’s regulators scrutinised their empire.

Ma and his family held the top ranking for China’s richest in the Hurun Global Rich Lists in 2020 and 2019 but now trail fourth, with the latest list showing Pinduo’s Collin Huang, behind bottled water maker Nongfu Spring’s Zhong Shanshan, Tencent Holding’s Pony Ma and e-commerce.

His fall from the top three came ‘after China’s regulatory authorities ruled over antitrust issues in Ant Group and Alibaba,’ the Hurun report said.

Ma’s recent problems have been sparked by an Oct. 24 speech in which he has exposed the regulatory system in China, leading to the suspension of the $37 billion IPO of his Ant Group just days before the Fintech giant published its list.

Since then, regulators have tightened counter-trust scrutiny in the country’s technology sector, with Alibaba taking much heat; an official anti-trust probe was launched by Market Regulator in December on Alibaba.

Chinese regulators have also begun to strengthen their grip on the fintech sector and have requested Ant to fold some of its businesses into financial holdings which, like traditional financial companies, are regulated.

Ma, who is not known to shy away from the speculative light, then for around three months disappeared from the public eye. He reappeared with a 50-second video appearance in January.

China’s current wealthiest man Zhong made his initial appearance in the top spot, largely thanks to Nongfu Spring’s share price performance and Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise, which he controls as well.

Tencent’s Ma saw his wealth grow by 70 percent to 480 billion yuan over the course of the year (74.16 billion dollars), while his wealth grew by 283 percent to 450 billion yuan, says the list. In comparison, Ma and his family’s wealth grew by 22% to 360 billion yuan.

In the Hurun Global Rich List, Zhang Yiming, founder of ByteDance owner of TikTok, ranked first among the top five Chinese billionaires with an estimated personal wealth in the amount of $54 billion.

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