Posted on Dec. 2020 at 15:44Updated 27 Dec. 2020 at 16:55
The pressure of the Chinese authorities on Ant Group has further increased. After already halting in its tracks what could have been a historic IPO last month, the Chinese central bank (PBoC) has ordered the giant founded by Jack Ma to rectify what it sees as a monopoly drift in the markets. financial services.
The Hangzhou-based firm should stick to ‘its original business’ of providing payment services and should come up with a compliance plan backed by a timeline as quickly as possible , warned the Chinese regulator in a statement released this Sunday, after summoning the company the day before.
The PBoC also called for the creation of a holding company aimed at securing capital guarantees and ensuring the protection of user data. In a few years, the firm behind the success of Alipay has indeed gone from being a simple payment fintech in the service of the Alibaba “market place” to that of a financial services giant offering loans, investment solutions and even contracts. insurance. This expansion eventually caught the attention of Chinese authorities. Last month, the latter decided to crack down by depriving Ant of what was to be one of the largest IPOs in history, with a potential valuation of $ 35 billion.
This year, Beijing has embarked on a vast operation aimed at bringing its internet behemoths, such as Alibaba and Tencent, which have succeeded in interfering in a particularly deep way in the daily life of the Chinese by offering services. ranging from simple messaging to booking tourist trips. Thursday, it is against the second pillar of the economic empire of Jack Ma, the giant of e-commerce Alibaba, also suspected of “monopoly practices”, that Beijing is attacked.
In this context, the boss of Alibaba, who was until now seen as the locomotive of a booming Chinese liberalism, is now perceived as a potential threat to the power in place. According to Bloomberg, the Chinese government has ordered him not to leave the country until further notice.
It must be said that Jack Ma no longer hid his global strategy. This ambition was also symbolized by the recent name change of Ant Group, which was initially called Ant Financial, to mark its specialization. Following this name change, the group’s management wanted Ant to be presented as a technological company and no longer just a financial one, like an Apple. It is therefore a serious step backwards that the Chinese regulator intends to impose on it.