Ant Group Faces 92% Profit Decline in Latest Quarterly Report

Ant Group Faces 92% Profit Decline in Latest Quarterly Report

by February 8, 2024

Ant Group, the financial technology entity founded by Jack Ma, has witnessed a significant downturn in its quarterly earnings, with a 92 percent reduction as it navigates through an economic downturn and enduring regulatory oversight.

Based in Hangzhou, the company reported contributing a profit of 80 million yuan (equivalent to US$11 million or HK$86.01 million) to its parent entity, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

According to Bloomberg’s analysis derived from Alibaba’s financial disclosures, this equates to an estimated profit of 240 million yuan for Ant’s September quarter.

This represents a stark contrast to the 65 percent profit drop observed in the prior quarter, following a 7 billion yuan penalty that concluded Beijing’s extensive review of the finance giant.

Alibaba has pointed to the downturn due to an “increase in Ant Group’s net investment loss,” with operational profits showing minimal change. Ant Group has refrained from further comments on these results.

The backdrop of this financial performance includes Beijing’s imposition of fines exceeding US$1 billion (HK$7.82 billion) on Ant and Tencent Holdings Ltd in July, aimed at curtailing the expansive reach of these tech giants.

JackMaAnt Group

Jack Ma

Amidst regulatory adjustments, Ant is in the process of securing a financial holding company license, which is anticipated to facilitate the revival of its initial public offering (IPO) ambitions. Concurrently, Jack Ma has taken a step back from the public sphere and relinquished control of Ant in a broader strategic retreat.

To offer investors an opportunity to decrease their stake, Ant proposed a share buy-back of up to 7.6 percent, thereby adjusting its valuation to around US$79 billion (HK$617.80 billion), significantly below its peak valuation of US$280 billion (HK$2.18 trillion).

Several prominent international investors including Warburg Pincus and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, have opted out of the buy-back initiative.

Ant is also undergoing strategic realignment, intending to segregate its international operations and concentrate on blockchain and database management services. The company continues to leverage its Alipay payments network, extending its services across Asia through partnerships with digital wallets for cross-border transactions.

With the endorsement of the Chinese government, Ant has ventured into generative AI, unveiling products to improve customer interaction and financial advisory services.

Featured image credit: Edited from Freepik