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Lt. Kane Wu
HONG KONG, Jan 13 (Reuters) – The chairman of private equity firm Primavera Group, which counts China’s Ant Group among its portfolio companies, believes that Jack Ma, founder of the tech giant, is “safe and sound.” and said he maintains an optimistic view of the company.
Fred Hu’s comments come as Chinese regulators are investigating e-commerce giant Alibaba and its subsidiary Ant after the latter’s initial public offering (IPO) was abruptly canceled in November last year.
Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who also controls Ant, has not been seen in public since the IPO debacle.
“I think he is safe and sound. He remains an enduring example of successful entrepreneurship,” Hu said in an interview at the Reuters Next conference on Wednesday, without elaborating.
Hong Kong-based Primavera became an investor in the $ 4.5 billion Ant fundraiser in 2016 and increased its investment during the $ 14 billion round two years later, which valued the company at $ 150 billion. .
Hu, a former chairman in charge of China at Goldman Sachs, serves as an independent non-executive director on Ant’s board.
“I think the (Ant) company is a very successful innovator and has really created fintech on its own in China as we know it,” he said. “I continue to maintain an optimistic view about the future of that company.”
Hu declined to comment on prospects for reviving the IPO.
Chinese regulators have set out to control Ma’s financial and e-commerce empires since he publicly criticized the country’s regulatory system in October for stifling innovation.
That set off a chain of events that culminated in November with the cancellation of Ant’s $ 37 billion IPO, which would have been the largest in the world. The regulator also launched antitrust investigations into Alibaba’s allegedly monopolistic practices.
(Reporting by Kane Wu; written by Sumeet Chatterjee; Edited in Spanish by Janisse Huambachano)
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