Factbox: Alibaba and Ant’s ties are beginning to fray underneath China’s glare

The brand of Ant Group, an affiliate of Alibaba, is pictured on the firm’s headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China October 29, 2020. REUTERS / Aly Track / File Photograph

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BEIJING / SHANGHAI, June 22 (Reuters) – Ant Group was spun off from Alibaba Group Holding (9988.HK) 11 years in the past however the two Jack Ma-founded corporations had continued to collaborate intently, and even operate as one firm in some features, to maximise their aggressive benefit.

Since late final 12 months, although, the duo have been taking concrete steps to set strict operational boundaries, based on sources accustomed to the matter. learn extra

Listed here are particulars about their shared historical past, and the way their closeness has performed out through the years:

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Ant’s beginnings might be traced to Alipay, which was launched by Alibaba in 2004 as a cost service that aimed to handle Chinese language patrons ‘and sellers’ issues about transacting on-line within the nation’s then-nascent e-commerce market.

Ma spun Alipay out seven years later, regardless of sturdy objections from traders together with Yahoo, citing the potential of new guidelines being launched to ban international investments in monetary companies in China.

Alipay then expanded into wealth administration and insurance coverage companies, and folded these companies into an entity known as Ant Monetary. It modified its identify once more to Ant Group in 2020.


After Ant’s spin-off, the 2 corporations entered an settlement which noticed Ant pay 37.5% of its pre-tax earnings to Alibaba. That settlement resulted in 2019 when Alibaba acquired a 33% stake in Ant, which it nonetheless holds.

Ma presently controls Ant and whereas he has stepped down from govt positions at Alibaba in addition to the e-commerce big’s board, he continues to be a life-long member of the Alibaba Partnership, a gaggle of high executives that has the precise to appoint a majority of Alibaba’s board.

9 out of the present 38 Alibaba companions are Ant executives, together with Ant’s chief govt and chairman Eric Jing.

Ant presently has two Alibaba executives on its board – Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai and Chief Know-how Officer Cheng Li.


The 2 corporations have continuously talked about their synergies, with Ant saying within the prospectus it filed to the Hong-Kong change in 2020, earlier than its inventory market itemizing was pulled, that “synergy with Alibaba” was one in all its key benefits and its ” origin and continued affiliation with Alibaba is a supply of power in addition to objective “.

This performed out on their apps – for years Alipay was the principle cost choice obtainable on Alibaba’s apps, together with China’s dominant market app Taobao and meals supply app Ele.me.

Alipay, which has greater than 1 billion customers, prominently shows many Alibaba-owned companies as “mini-apps” on its default app touchdown web page.

These synergies had been enticing to potential companions: in 2018 US espresso big Starbucks (SBUX.O) arrange its first formal on-line supply service in China with what it described because the “Alibaba ecosystem”.

To make certain, such preparations weren’t distinctive to Alibaba and Alipay however had been additionally made by rivals similar to Tencent Holdings (0700.HK)who created their very own ecosystems with their investee companies, whereas blocking rivals’ companies, in a observe known as “walled gardens”.

Chinese language regulators criticized the observe final 12 months, saying it affected consumer expertise and broken client rights which has prompted a few of these apps to confide in rivals. Ele.me, for instance, now accepts Tencent’s WeChat Pay as a cost choice.


Alibaba and Ant have additionally co-invested in quite a few offers.

In 2016, Alibaba and Ant invested $ 200 million every into trip hailing firm Didi Chuxing, which is now known as Didi International.

Alibaba and Ant in 2021 led a spherical of financing of $ 280 million into bike-sharing startup Hiya Inc. Ant earlier invested in Hiya in 2017 and 2018.

In addition they beforehand held stakes in India’s Paytm Ecommerce, the guardian entity of Paytm Mall, and nonetheless collectively maintain a 29.4% stake in Chinese language synthetic intelligence startup Megvii via their subsidiaries.

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Reporting by Yingzhi Yang and Brenda Goh; Enhancing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.

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