Alibaba’s Ant Group changes shareholders’ voting rights

Alibaba’s financial arm Ant Group said on Saturday that no shareholder, alone or jointly with other parties, will have control over the company, as part of its broader push to further optimize corporate governance.

The move means Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma will no longer control the Chinese financial technology company after a series of adjustments that change the exercise of voting rights from Ant’s major shareholders.

Ant said in a statement on its official website that upon completion of the adjustment, major shareholders of Ant, including equity investment firms Hangzhou Junhan and Hangzhou Junao, will independently exercise their voting rights in Ant.

No shareholder will, alone or jointly with another shareholder, have the power to control the outcome of Ant’s general meetings. No shareholder will have the power to nominate the majority of Ant’s board of directors, it added.

“We have recently made a series of improvements to our corporate governance system at the board and shareholder levels. These changes will help the company achieve long-term growth. Ant will continue to focus on using digital technology to serve the real economy, implementing our sustainable development strategy, and improving our corporate governance to create more value for communities,” an Ant spokesperson said in a reply to China Daily.

To further enhance the transparency and effectiveness of corporate governance and strengthen the Ant’s independence from its shareholder Alibaba, certain members of Ant management have exited the Alibaba partnership, the company said.

Chinese regulators have approved Ant to raise 10.5 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) for its consumer finance unit, marking a significant step forward for the revamp of the financial technology company’s lucrative consumer loan business.

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