Ant Group CEO Simon Hu has resigned from his role due to “personal reasons,” according to a spokesperson of affiliated online retailer Alibaba (BABA). The decision is being made during a period of increased pressure from financial authorities regarding Chinese tech giants and while Beijing has been cracking down on Alibaba.
Ant Group is primarily known for operating the payment service Alipay. But online investing, lending, and insurance activities have also contributed to the $635 billion in assets the fintech now supervises.
The high growth rates of Ant Group have also put Chinese regulators on alert mode, fearing an increase in influence. Beijing aims to assert control over domestic tech companies, which was demonstrated by its cancelling of Ant Group’s IPO last year and filing antitrust lawsuits against Alibaba among others.
Mr. Hu, who now intends to focus on philanthropy and social responsibility at Ant and Alibaba, and he will be replaced by chairman Eric Jing. Jing is experienced in this position as he served as CEO for Ant from 2016-2019.