According to Wall Street Journal, seven Ant Group’s top executives have stepped down as partners and are no longer part of Alibaba Partnership.

Ant Group’s executives stepping down include CEO Eric Jing, its chief technology officer, chief people officer, and other top executives. 

The move is the latest decoupled action from the two entities after Beijing’s extensive regulatory crackdown on the tech giant.

The Alibaba Partnership was founded in 2010 and has been the top decision-making unit for Alibaba and its affiliates. The body can nominate board members for the e-commerce giant.

The Wall Street Journal cited a filing from Alibaba reporting that employees of Alibaba’s affiliates were no longer partners as of May 31. Ant Group stated the move was “part of our continuous efforts to enhance corporate governance.”

With the departure of seven executives and two other retired partners, Alibaba now has 29 partners, down from 38 a year ago.

After Beijing canceled Ant’s 37 billion dollar initial public offering in 2020, Ant began to distance itself from Alibaba and restructured its business to follow the regime’s regulations. 

Alibaba still holds a 33% stake in Ant Group, which plays a key role in Alipay’s payment service marketplace. The e-commerce giant spun off Ant in 2011.

When Ant Group was about to launch its largest initial public offering in 2020 on the stock exchange, Beijing suddenly stopped the deal. The sanction came after its founder Jack Ma publicly criticized Chinese financial regulators, calling them “short-sighted.”

Alibaba received a record fine of 2.8 billion dollars in 2021 from antitrust regulators for abusing its dominant market position hurting competitors, customers, and merchants on its e-commerce platforms.

Ant Group’s Alipay services is the world’s largest online payment platform with 1.3 billion users in China as of June 2020. According to the Wall Street Journal, Alipay processed e-payment transactions worth over 17 trillion dollars as of June 2020.

Alipay claims it operates with over 65 financial institutions to provide payment services for e-commerce websites like Taobao or Tmall and more than 460,000 online and local Chinese businesses.

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