‘Political links’ led to China blocking Jack Ma’s record IPO

According to a media report, investment companies linked to former Communist party members and their family stood to gain from the IPO.


Ananth Krishnan, The Hindu (India)

February 17, 2021


China’s President Xi Jinping pushed for blocking what would have been a record-breaking initial public offering (IPO) for billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Group last year because of Communist Party-linked “political families” who stood to gain billions of dollars through opaque investment vehicles, according to a new report.


Investment companies linked to the grandson of former President Jiang Zemin and the son-in-law of former Politburo Standing Committee member Jia Qinglin stood to profit from the IPO, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, with their ownership in the Ant Group, the financial payments arm of Mr. Ma’s Alibaba empire, held through "layers of opaque investment vehicles that own stakes in the firm”.


The report described them as "a coterie of well-connected Chinese power players, including some with links to political families that represent a potential challenge to President Xi and his inner circle.”


Among them is Boyu Capital, a private-equity firm founded by Mr. Jiang’s grandson, Jiang Zhicheng. Another is Li Botan, who controls the Beijing Zhaode Group, that has invested in Ant through three layers of investment vehicles, the report said. Mr. Li is the son-in-law of Jia Qinglin, a senior leader who served on the top Politburo Standing Committee for ten years until 2012 and is close to Mr. Jiang...