Jack Ma becomes Asia's richest man

BEIJING • Alibaba Group Holding chairman Jack Ma overtook Dalian Wanda Group's Wang Jianlin as Asia's richest man after the e-commerce giant's financial affiliate raised a record amount in its latest round of fund raising.

Mr Ma added US$4.3 billion (S$5.8 billion) to his fortune on Tuesday after his Ant Financial's latest deal, expanding his wealth to US$33.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

That puts him ahead of Mr Wang's US$32.7 billion and Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka Shing's US$29.5 billion.

Microlending business Ant Financial completed a record US$4.5 billion equity fund-raising round and is considering an initial public offering on the Shanghai stock exchange as early as this year.

Mr Ma is already widely known in China. His company is venturing into cross-border e-commerce, cloud computing, health, entertainment and media.

Mr Ma expanded his fortune to US$33.3 billion on Tuesday after an Alibaba affiliate raised a record amount in a round of fund raising. He is now ahead of Dalian Wanda Group's Wang Jianlin and Hong Kong's Li Ka Shing.
Mr Ma expanded his fortune to US$33.3 billion on Tuesday after an Alibaba affiliate raised a record amount in a round of fund raising. He is now ahead of Dalian Wanda Group's Wang Jianlin and Hong Kong's Li Ka Shing. PHOTO: REUTERS

But the lead could be short lived, as Mr Wang reorganises his entertainment business and seeks to relocate his property unit's listing in search of higher valuations in mainland China.

Alibaba's billionaire chairman owns 6.3 per cent of Alibaba and 37.9 per cent of Ant Financial, after the fund raising.

Mr Wang is a property tycoon and his Dalian Wanda Group controls the second-biggest American cinema chain, AMC Entertainment. He also wrapped up the takeover of Legendary Entertainment, a major Hollywood film studio, in January.

Mr Li, known as Superman for his deal-making savvy, owns ports-to-telecoms conglomerate CK Hutchison.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2016, with the headline 'Jack Ma becomes Asia's richest man'. Print Edition | Subscribe