Ma Loses $1.4b as Alibaba’s Sales Falter


JANUARY 30, 2015

Jack Ma’s fortune dropped $1.4 billion on Thursday, the most among the world’s 400 richest people, as Alibaba Group shares posted a record slump after the company missed revenue estimates.

The decline allowed property tycoon Wang Jianlin to recapture the title of China’s richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, placing him $400 million ahead of Ma, who’s worth $26.3 billion.

Ma, the 50-year-old chairman of the world’s largest collection of e-commerce websites, has seen his net worth fall $4.1 billion since Alibaba closed at a record on Nov. 10.

“I think Jack Ma’s fortune has a lot of room to grow,” said Wang Weidong, an analyst at IResearch, a Shanghai-basedInternet consulting firm. “He still has a lot of assets whose value haven’t been fully unlocked.”

Alibaba revenue was 26.2 billion yuan ($4.2 billion) in the third quarter, compared with the 27.6 billion-yuan average of 25 analyst estimates.

Ads on mobile phones generate less money than those on desktop computers because of their smaller screens, and transactions on the Tmall platform grew at a slower pace, the Hangzhou-based company said on Thursday.

Alibaba shares fell 8.8 percent to $89.81 at the close in New York on Thursday, the lowest since Oct. 20, a month after its trading debut.

Wang’s flagship property company and cinema operator sold shares in two public offerings in the past month. Wanda Cinema Line has more than doubled since it started trading on the Shenzhen exchange on Jan. 22.

“One’s involved in the online economy, and one’s in the offline economy, so they’re different,” Wang said. “The wealth ranking depends on changes in the market.”

Ma had become China’s richest person ahead of Alibaba’s initial public offering in September 2014. He briefly overtook Hong Kong’s Li Ka-shing as Asia’s richest, riding a surge in Alibaba stock, which jumped as much as 75 percent after the stock sale.