Alibaba shares jump as Jack Ma exits Ant

STORY: Shares in firms linked to China’s Ant Group jumped on Monday (January 9).

Some saw gains of over 20%.

Hong Kong-listed shares in e-commerce giant Alibaba gained over 8%.

That followed news over the weekend that founder Jack Ma was set to give up control of the financial technology giant.

His departure is meant to draw a line under a regulatory crackdown that has weighed on the firm.

Two years ago, watchdogs stepped in at the last minute to stop a $37 billion share offering, which would have been the world’s largest.

The IPO was halted days after Ma publicly criticised regulators in a speech, and his empire has been under scrutiny ever since.

Now analysts say his exit was probably negotiated with officials, and should boost sentiment regarding Ant and its affiliates.

Over the weekend, Morgan Stanley said it would elevate Alibaba to its “top pick” among Chinese internet firms.

Other analysts said Ma’s move might open the way to a revival of Ant’s IPO.

However, the firm said Sunday (January 8) that it had no such plan.

Chinese share market rules also require a three-year wait to list shares after a change in control.