Ant Group sells 36Kr to further reduce investment structure
Published: Mar 13, 2022 09:08 PM
Photo taken on Oct. 26, 2020 shows Ant Group logo on the buildings of Hangzhou headquarters in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province. (VCG)

Photo taken on Oct. 26, 2020 shows Ant Group logo on the buildings of Hangzhou headquarters in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province. (VCG)

Ant Group has sold its stake in 36Kr, a tech news portal, to streamline its investment structure amid China's antimonopoly regulatory efforts to ensure orderly and sustainable development of the financial and technology sectors. 

Ant Group has sold all of its 15.1-percent stake in 36Kr Holdings, a US-listed new-economy focused content and data provider, according to a filing by 36Kr to the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday local time. 

The exit from 36Kr marks another contraction in investment by Ant Group after it cut its share in ZhongAn Insurance from 13.53 percent to 10.37 percent in January.

These adjustments by Ant Group underscore the determination of Chinese internet companies to embrace market changes and regulation, as the country has strengthened anti-monopoly efforts in a bid to prevent the disorderly expansion of capital, Liu Dingding, a Beijing-based technology industry observer, told the Global Times on Sunday.

In November 2020, Chinese regulators ordered the suspension of Ant's planned dual IPOs on the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges. Since then, policymakers have stepped up efforts to strengthen laws and regulations related to the fintech industry.

Amid the regulatory campaign, 14 internet enterprises, including Ant Group, that were involved in the financial sector have carried out rectification, and the overall process is making progress, Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, said on March 2.

"The process of rectification will encounter difficulties, including the management of data, personal information and privacy protection issues, but we have full confidence in the overall improvement," Guo said.

An important general direction of the reform is to strengthen separate regulations of finance and technology, and Ant Group has been actively cooperating with the policy, You Xi, an independent fintech observer, told the Global Times on Sunday.

In April 2021, Ant Group reduced its stake in Zomato, an Indian food delivery company. In October of the same year, it sold all its shares in Caixin Media.

"Other internet giants, including Tencent, are reducing their investment structure, pulling back the tentacles, and focusing on supporting the real economy and rural revitalization," Liu said.

Shrinking investment maps won't have a big impact on the business of these giants, as these activities only accounted for a small fraction of their entire investment, Liu noted.

Alibaba's revenue for the third quarter of fiscal 2021, which ended on December 31, 2020, stood at 221.1 billion yuan ($33.9 billion), up 37 percent year-on-year, the company said in its financial report in February.