The leading Chinese e-commerce company, Alibaba Group, experienced record sell-offs at the first trading session of the week.
The plunge in its share price is largely attributed to fears of antitrust scrutiny from the Chinese government that threatens to harm Jack Ma’s internet empire and curb the influence of China’s most powerful corporations.
Alibaba shares dropped about 8% in value, trading at a 6 month low in Hong Kong amid a proposed stock repurchase program of between $4 billion to $10 billion, that had a duration of two years.
The company has lost more than $230 billion from its record highs, brutalized by the heightened scrutiny and allegations of monopolistic practices
- “The Chinese government is putting more pressure or wants to have more control on the tech firms,” Jackson Wong, asset management director at Amber Hill Capital Ltd., said by phone in an interview seen on Bloomberg.
- “There is still very big selling pressure on firms like Alibaba, Tencent, or Meituan. These companies have been growing at a pace deemed by Beijing as too fast and have scales that are too big.”
Recall some days ago the e-Commerce juggernaut got into hot waters over its affiliate company, Ant Group, as Chinese antitrust regulators plan to review if it was in anyway monopolistic.
Such a move by the Chinese regulators is seen by some market commentators as a huge hit to Jack Ma’s e-Commerce and fintech empire.
At the time Ant Group’s IPO got suspended, Alibaba, which has a majority stake of about 33% in Ant Group, saw its shares fall. It lost more than 5% in U.S. premarket trading.
- Ant Group’s Controller, Jack Ma; Executive Chairman, Eric Jing; and CEO, Simon Hu, were scrutinized by regulators in China, according to a statement seen from the China Securities Regulatory Commission.
- The probe is part of a sudden and quick crackdown on monopolistic behavior suspected to be in China’s booming internet ecosystem, and the latest setback for Jack Ma, the 56-year-old former school teacher, who founded Alibaba and became China’s richest man in the modern era.