Beijing expressed that it wanted to split up Alipay, a popular app owned by Jack Ma’s Ant Group, and create a separate app for the company’s highly profitable loans business.
The move is also part of a broader crackdown on China’s big tech companies.
According to Financial Times, officials in China have already ordered Ant to create a new entity and bring in outside shareholders for its two lending units, Huabei (similar to a credit card) and Jiebei (small unsecured loans).
The report said that officials wanted to have their independent app. “The government believes big tech’s monopoly power comes from their control of data,” said one person close to financial regulators in Beijing. “It wants to end that.”
Meanwhile, FT said Ant would not be the only online lender in China affected by the new rules.
Chinese regulators requested in April that Ant undergo a comprehensive business restructuring, including rebranding as a financial holding company and integrating its two lucrative microloan businesses, Jiebei and Huabei, into the new consumer finance firm.
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