China extends crackdown on Jack Ma's empire

Jack Ma's Ant Group - which owns China's largest digital payment platform Alipay and is an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba - announced on Monday that it will undergo a sweeping restructuring on the order of the Chinese government.

The crackdown on Ant Group underscores Beijing's determination to rein in Big Tech.

Chinese regulators had already derailed Ant Group's record $37 billion IPO in November.

And, just two days ago, Jack Ma's Alibaba Group was hit with a record $2.75 billion-dollar antitrust fine as China tightens controls on the booming "platform economy."

The overhaul of Ant Group includes turning itself into a financial holding firm, a move expected to curb its profitability and valuation by cutting back on some of its freewheeling businesses.

Ant will also be subjected to tougher regulatory oversight and capital requirements and will be forced to cut links between its hugely popular payments app Alipay and its other businesses, which had been viewed as a big advantage due to Alipay's vast trove of customer data and more than 730 million monthly users in China.

U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba were up 8% after Monday's announcement, tracking a similar gain for its Hong Kong shares earlier in the day, with investors cheering the end of uncertainty for the e-commerce giant after the antitrust fine.

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