Jack Ma, the famous co-founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. , has lost his title as China’s richest person after the billionaire’s business empire came under regulatory scrutiny, according to a closely watched annual list of China’s wealthy.
According to Shanghai-based research firm Hurun Report, Jack Ma and his family’s fortune rose 22% to 360 billion yuan, equivalent to about USD 55.7 billion, from a year ago, placing them at fourth place in the list of China’s richest people.
In early November, Jack Ma’s Ant firm was forced to cancel its initial public offerings in Hong Kong and in Shanghai, which were on track to raise more than $34 billion.
In December, regulators launched an antitrust investigation into Alibaba. The regulatory scrutiny sent shares of Alibaba into dismay and prompted the restructuring of Ant’s online-borrowing model.
Bottled-water tycoon Zhong Shanshan took the top spot with an estimated net worth of about USD 85 billion. Tother founders of Chinese internet companies, Tencent Holdings Ltd’s founder Pony Ma, and Pinduoduo Inc’s founder Colin Huang came in second and third, respectively.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the total number of billionaires around the world rose by 412 to a record of 3,228, according to the report.