“A large number” of the bank’s ultra-rich customers from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa sliced or quit their shares at China’s largest e-commerce company in December, following reports from the survey, Citi Private Bank’s Family Offices Lab said in a report released Tuesday. China’s stock market had previously drawn large inflows from the company’s wealthiest customers in the second half of the year, according to the report.
While hailed as an engine of economic growth and a symbol of the country’s technological prowess, Alibaba and competitors, including Tencent Holdings Ltd., face growing pressure from authorities after collecting hundreds of millions of users and seized power over almost every aspect of everyday life in China. The $35 billion initial public offering of Alibaba’s affiliate payment firm, Ant Group Co., was unexpectedly halted last year, helping to send Alibaba’s U.S. depositary receipts down further than a fifth since late October.
Last week, the China’s central bank said that Ant Group worked on a schedule of business rework while trying to ensure its activities continued, stressing Ma’s commitment to remain with its business and providing little insight into the degree to which the enterprise has to convince Beijing. Ant Group makes more than a quarter of Ma’s $52.9 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
As Ma resurfaced for the first time in early November as it went silent in the government’s probes into Ant and Alibaba, Alibaba’s shares jumped up 11% in Wednesday’s trading in Hong Kong. He answered educators via live stream during the annual event he organizes for rural teachers, people familiar with the situation said, helping to suppress gossip about his destiny.