Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on LinkedIn Share this on Sina Weibo Share this on Wechat Share this on LinkedIn Alibaba founder Jack Ma, pictured here at a 2010 forum, has been caught in the middle of a new slew of fintech reforms in China. His inflammatory speech in October 2020 may have been just the excuse the government needed. Credit: World Economic Forum/Qilai Shen, Creative Commons HONG KONG – Ever since Alibaba founder Jack Ma criticized Chinese financial regulation in a speech last October, a regulatory storm has pummeled the country’s entire online financial and consumer sector. The Shanghai Stock Exchange suspended the planned initial public offering of fintech conglomerate Ant Group — an Alibaba affiliate — just two days before its launch, and regulators subsequently launched a massive crackdown on Chinese Big Tech. While Ma’s speech appears to have been an unforeseeable random event, the logic of Chinese bureaucratic politics made Ant’s IPO debacle inevitable. As I elaborate in my new book, power within the Chinese bureaucracy is fragmented among central ministries and levels of government. A department’s mission and objectives determine its stance and approach toward regulating businesses. China previously regulated its financial system using a “one bank and three commissions” structure. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC, the Subscribe or login to read the rest. Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.