Jack Ma, head of Alibaba and the Ant Group, who also recently came under the state's radar following his anti-government stances, has lost his spot as the richest man in China. Ma, who remained unchallenged being the richest in 2020 and 2019, slipped down to the fourth position in the latest report.
The current top three positions are held by Zhong Shanshan of the drinking water company Nongfu Spring, Pony Ma of Tencent Holdings, and Colin Huang of the new e-commerce platform Pinduoduo. Both Ant Group's and Alibaba's market holdings are down following tough government restrictions. Their bad luck initially started with Ma's speech last October, lashing out against the country's state-run control system. The first retaliation was the government ban on the $37 Billion IPO announced by Ant Group. The government had also announced an investigation into the Alibaba group in December and an order to close some Ant Group industries.
These actions following in rapid succession and Jack Ma's complete absence from the public sphere reinforced rumours of his arrest. He announced his return with a 50-second video released in January.
Meanwhile, a sharp rise in Nongfu Spring Company's shares pushed Zhong up to the first place. His vaccine company, Beijing Wantai Biological Enterprise, also saw a rise in share value.
Tencent, known for its strong presence in the global market for mobile games (like PUBG) and technological excellence, saw over 70 per cent increase in wealth in the past year alone. For Pinduoduo, the increase is about three times, and for Jack Ma, just 22 per cent. TikTok owner and the founder of ByteDance, Zhang Yiming rose to fifth place.