Ant Group and Alibaba are untangling their operations from each other and independently seeking new business as the Jack Ma-founded companies navigate China's devastating regulatory crackdown, four sources familiar with the matter said.

E-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding created what would become payments and financial services provider Ant and spun it off in 2011, although it still retains a 33% stake and the two companies have some overlap in leadership.

However, the duo have begun to unwind some of their collaborative arrangements as they try to recover from a sweeping technology sector clampdown that has sliced hundreds of billions of dollars off their value, shrunk revenue and led to a record $2.8 billion fine for Alibaba.