China’s central bank has reportedly slapped technology provider Ant Group, which Chinese billionaire Jack Ma founded in 2014, with a 7.12 billion yuan (approximately $997 million) fine.
Latest development: The fine, issued on July 7, is seen as the end of a years-long crackdown on the country’s tech sector and Ma’s companies that began in 2020.
China’s central bank explained in a recent statement that the fine was issued in response to “violations of laws and regulations in financial activities” in several areas, including the tech industry.
Addressing the fine, Ant Group reportedly said it had completely rectified all the requirements laid by China’s financial regulators.
How it started: Ma, 58, laid low months after he criticized China’s financial regulatory system at a conference in Shanghai in October 2020, describing the system as “an old people’s club” and saying that “yesterday’s methods cannot be used to regulate the future.”
The Chinese billionaire’s comments ended up costing his companies billions of dollars in losses. Alibaba has reportedly lost 45% of its market value, or around $620 billion, since 2020. Meanwhile, Ant Group’s valuation dropped by around 75% to $78.5 billion from $315 billion, bringing the total losses between the two companies to $856.5 billion.
Not just the companies: Ma’s net worth has also seen a steep decline, falling to $30.9 billion from his 2020 peak net worth of over $61 billion.