China Begins Probe On Jack Ma’s Ant Group

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After China’s top market watchdog began investigation last week into alleged anti-competition practices by ecommerce giant Alibaba, media reported on Monday that the country has now laid out ‘rectification plan for the Jack Ma’s fintech venture Ant Group.

According to a report in TechCrunch, the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, “summoned Ant Group for regulatory talks on December 26th, announcing a sweeping plan for the fintech firm to ‘rectify’ its regulatory violations”.

The banking authority has laid out a five-point compliance agenda for Ant Group.

The agenda is that Ant Group should return to its roots in payments and bring more transparency to transactions.

“It must obtain the necessary licenses for its credit businesses and protect user data privacy and establish a financial holding company and ensure it holds sufficient capital.

Jack Ma, founder of China’s Internet giant Alibaba

Ant group must also “revamp its credit, insurance, wealth management and other financial businesses according to the law and step up compliance for its securities business”.

Ant said it has established an internal “rectification workforce” to work on all the regulatory requirements.

Xinhua news agency had first reported that The People’s Bank of China, China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, China Securities Regulatory Commission, and State Administration of Foreign Exchange will “interview Ant Group in the near future”.

The move is “to supervise and guide Ant Group to implement financial supervision and fair competition in accordance with the principles of marketisation and rule of law, and to protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers, and regulate the operation and development of financial services”.

Chinese President Xi Jinping

The State Administration for Market Regulation last week started investigation into alleged anti-competition practices by ecommerce giant Alibaba, as Beijing tightened control of an expanding Internet.

In a brief note, the State Administration for Market Regulation said that it is investigating Alibaba over its “choosing one from two” policy.

As part of this policy, merchants are forced to sell exclusively on Alibaba e-commerce platforms and skip rivals like JD.com.

Alibaba Group said in a statement that they have received notification from the State Administration for Market Regulation.

“Alibaba will actively cooperate with the regulators on the investigation,” the company said, adding that its “business operations remain normal.”

Also Read: China To Probe Alibaba On Unfair Practices