Chinese Fintech Giant Ant Group Appoints New CPO

According to the official website of Chinese financial technology giant Ant Group, Sam Zeng, the former Chief People Officer, left his post and has been replaced by Wu Minzhi, previously the firm’s deputy CPO. Wu holds an EMBA degree from China Europe International Business School (CEIBS). She was originally a partner of Alibaba and joined Ant Group in August 2021.

Wu had worked at Alibaba for more than 20 years before joining Ant Group, and was in charge of international operations, B2B, Customer Service and Experience and Administration, Property Development and Procurement Departments successively.

Zeng joined Ant Group in February 2012 and served as Vice President of Human Resources and Senior Vice President of the firm. Before joining Ant Group, Zeng served as Vice President of Human Resources of McDonald’s China from January 2010 to November 2011, and Personnel Director of AB InBev China from December 2003 to December 2009.

Since its IPO was suspended in 2020, Ant Group has needed to rectify its micro-loan business amid tightening market supervision. In 2021, the financial management department in China interviewed 14 enterprises, including Ant Group, and determined five main contents of the rectification plan of Ant Group, including correcting unfair competition in the payment business, breaking the information monopoly, changing to a financial holding company, carrying out supervision requirements, and managing the liquidity risk of important fund products.

At the end of 2021, Ant Group isolated the microcredit services “Huabei” and “Jiebei” respectively, re-established its brand positioning, and integrated its compliance business into a licensed consumption finance company. On November 14, last year, three listed companies participated in the capital increase of Chongqing Ant Consumer Finance Co., Ltd., a consumer unit of Ant Group, by 10.5 billion yuan ($1.5 billion), signaling progress in the government-ordered overhaul of the fintech firm. After the capital increase is completed, Ant Group’s shareholding ratio remains 50%, making it the largest shareholder.

In the first three quarters of 2022, the consumer unit achieved an income of 3.2 billion yuan, a net profit of 1.1 billion yuan and an adjusted net profit of 386 million yuan. By the end of the third quarter last year, the company had assets of 101.9 billion yuan, liabilities of 93.881 billion yuan and net assets of 8.042 billion yuan.

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A report by CITIC Securities pointed out that the consumer unit’s capital increase means that Chinese authorities are allowing Ant Group to replenish capital for credit business after approving the capital increase of MYbank, an online lender affiliated with Ant in June 2022. From a policy perspective, it is expected that the rectification of large-scale financial technology platforms will come to an end.

In addition, on January 3, Ant Group announced the marketing guidelines for financial consumer protection, which are applicable to Ant Group and its subsidiaries for payment, insurance, consumer finance and digital life.