The authorities halted Ant's $34 billion-plus IPO in 2020 at the eleventh hour and are forcing the technology firm to reorganise as a financial holding company regulated by China's central bank. As the overhaul progresses, Ant is taking the opportunity to reduce the company's reliance on Ma, who founded Alibaba.
Ma, 57, is China's key entrepreneur and has been given a kicking from the government which is keen to reduce his power.
He has controlled Ant since he carved its precursor assets out of Alibaba more than a decade ago. Over time he built it into a company that owns the Alipay payments network with more than one billion users, an investing platform that houses what was once the world's largest money-market fund, and a large microlending business.
Ant was expected to be valued at more than $300 billion had it gone public. Diminishing his ownership could put back a potential revival of Ant's IPO for a year or more. Chinese securities regulations require a timeout on public listings for companies that have gone through a recent change in control.