China plans to disband Ant’s Alipay and force the creation of a separate credit app – FT

September 12 (Reuters) – Beijing plans to discontinue Alipay, Jack Ma’s Ant Group’s hugely popular payment app, and create a separate app for the company’s highly profitable lending business, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

The plan also calls for Ant to share the user data backing his credit decisions with a new credit scoring joint venture that will be partially state-owned, the newspaper reported, citing two people familiar with the process.

Government-backed companies will for the first time take a significant stake in Ant’s credit scoring joint venture, three people told Reuters last week.

An Alipay sign in the Shanghai office of Alipay, owned by Ant Group, a subsidiary of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, in Shanghai, China, Sept. 14, 2020. REUTERS / Aly Song / File Photo

The partners plan to set up a personal credit scoring firm in which Ant and Zhejiang Tourism Investment Group Co Ltd (ZJGVTT.UL) each own 35% of the company, while other government-backed partners, Hangzhou Finance and Investment Group and Zhejiang Electronic Port, will each hold a little more than 5%, said one of the people. Continue reading

Ant will not be the only online lender in China affected by the new rules, according to the FT report. The company did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

In April, Chinese regulators asked Ant to undertake a major business overhaul, convert Ant itself into a financial holding company, and pool its two lucrative microcredit companies, Jiebei and Huabei, into the new consumer finance company.

Chinese regulators have targeted the Ant Group and other internet “platform” giants in a sweeping crackdown that spans antitrust and privacy issues, user data and cryptocurrencies.

Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; Adaptation by Kim Coghill

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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