Alibaba and Ant Group founder Jack Ma has lost the title of China’s richest man, according to a Shanghai-based Hurun report. This news comes at a time when his empire has been put under heavy scrutiny by Chinese regulators because Ma criticized them in October last year.
According to Reuters, Ma and his family had held the top spot for China’s richest in the Hurun Global Rich List in 2020 and 2019 but now trail in fourth place behind bottled water maker Nongfu Spring’s Zhong Shanshan, Tencent Holding’s Pony Ma, and e-commerce upstart Pinduoduo’s Collin Huang.
The Hurun report said that Ma’s fall out of the top three comes after China’s regulators reined in Ant Group and Alibaba on anti-trust issues. His woes were triggered by his speech in October in which he had blasted China’s regulatory system, leading to the suspension of his Ant Group’s $37 billion IPO just days before the fintech giant’s public listing. The Chinese regulators have since tightened anti-trust scrutiny on the country’s tech sector.
Nongfu Spring’s Zhong Shanshan, on the other hand, entered the list for the first time with an $85 billion fortune. Zhong had made his money on the $1.1 billion IPO in Hong Kong last year. Hurun reported that Zhong had made his first appearance at the top spot largely thanks to share price performances of his company and vaccine maker Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise, which he also controls.
Zhang Yiming, founder of TikTok owner ByteDance, broke into the top five rankings among Chinese billionaires in Hurun’s Global Rich List for the first time, with an estimated personal wealth of $54 billion.