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China’s central bank seeks Ant Group’s consumer lending data

Saturday, 04 24 2021, Category: Banking, Country: China
China’s central bank is seeking to take control of Ant Group’s consumer lending data, in the latest move by officials to clamp down on Jack Ma’s business empire, the Financial Times reported on Friday.

The People’s Bank of China has asked Ant, the fintech arm of the prominent Alibaba corporate group, to hand over the valuable data to a state-controlled credit scoring company to be run by the central bank’s former executives, the newspaper said, citing people close to the discussions.

However, Ant is insisting that it should lead the new company, a banker who has worked with Ant was quoted as saying. The banker added the comment that too much government intervention would drag the industry down.

But the central bank believes Ant’s leadership in the new company would create a conflict of interest, the report said. The bank’s top priority is to ensure that the new business complies fully with regulations, and it believes state involvement would best promote that goal, a person familiar with the central bank’s thinking was quoted as saying.

The People’s Bank in January announced new rules requiring Chinese companies to obtain government approval before providing personal crediting ratings. It has so far issued three licenses for that service, all to state-run companies.

Officials at the central bank summoned Ant executives to a meeting on April 12 and asked them to apply for a license. The group subsequently agreed to do so, the report said.

This was the latest in a chain of regulatory moves targeting the leading e-commerce company founded by Ma. Some banks had complained that Ant had benefited in the past by not being subject to the same stringent regulations that govern their operations.

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