Chinese regulators look to break up Ant Group’s Alipay: report


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Chinese regulators are seeking to break up Alipay, the popular payments app from Jack Ma’s Ant Group, according to a new report by the Financial Times.

According to the FT, regulators want Alipay to create a separate app for its loan business, and turn over user data for a new credit-scoring joint venture, in which Chinese state-owned business will have a significant stake.

Reuters first reported news of the joint venture last week.

Under the new plan, Alipay — which has more than 1 billion users — will no longer be able to check customers’ credit worthiness internally, and will have to rely on outside credit scores. Citing sources, the FT added that Alipay will not be China’s only online lender affected by the changes.

Earlier this year, Alipay was forced to set up a separate consumer-finance company that will hold Ant’s two credit services, Huabei and Jiebei.

The moves are part of China’s efforts to crack down on tech companies’ monopolies. Last year, Ant Group’s record $34 billion IPO in Hong Kong and Shanghai was suspended at the last minute after Ma, the company’s founder, publicly criticized Chinese regulators.

Ma has since said Ant Group will follow regulators’ demands, leaving open the possibility of a future IPO.

Ant Group is an affiliate of Alibaba Group 9988, -5.90%, which saw its Hong Kong shares fall Monday after the report.

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