The Central Bank of China is set to impose a fine of more than $1 billion on Jack Ma's Ant Group, according to a report from Reuters, citing several sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
This fine, the report says, will set the stage for ending the fintech company's two-year-long regulatory overhaul.
The Apex Bank has been the driving force behind the regulatory revamp at the Ant Group after the Chinese firm’s $37 billion IPO was scuttled at the last minute in 2020 immediately after billionaire founder Ma publicly criticized China’s regulatory system for stifling innovation.
The overhaul included turning itself into a financial holding firm, subject to rules and capital requirements similar to those for banks.
The $1 billion fine will centre on Ant’s alleged violations relating to a “disorderly expansion of capital” and the corresponding financial risks its once freewheeling businesses have caused, said one of the sources.
However, a fine on Ant could help pave the way for the company to secure a long-awaited financial holding company license, seek growth again, and eventually revive its plans for a public market debut.