© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Ant Group sign seen during World Internet Conference in Wuzhen
(Reuters) – China is investigating how Ant Group founder Jack Ma obtained swift approvals for the company’s stock listing last year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The central government investigation, which began earlier this year, focuses on “the regulators who gave the green light to the initial public offering, the local officials who defended it, and the large state-owned companies that would benefit from it,” according to the report. (https://on.wsj.com/3vmKm4P) Ma’s relationships with these “state stalwarts” are also being examined as part of the investigation, according to the report. China has already imposed a radical restructuring on Ant Group, the fintech conglomerate whose record $ 37 billion IPO was derailed by regulators in November, underscoring Beijing’s determination to curb its internet giants. The reform, led by China’s central bank, subjects Ant to stricter regulatory oversight and capital requirements and requires it to sever ties between its popular payments app Alipay and its other companies. Ant Group, the payments subsidiary of Alibaba (NYSE 🙂 Group Holding Ltd, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.