Beijing tears apart Alibaba and parades Alipay at Jack Ma (but all Big Tech are shaking)

BEIJING – The latest attack by Chinese authorities on Jack Ma’s empire signals an escalation of pressure on Big Tech, after more conciliatory statements from the leadership arrived last week. Beijing – according to what the Financial Times wrote today – wants Ant Group (Alipay) in its restructuring to divide its loan sector, operating with two different apps, and to transfer user data to an entity in whose ownership there is also the state.

These are heavy requests that, in addition to the Jack Ma, have made all the Big Tech’s ears ring that have been slapped in the face since the last part of last year.

Chinese regulators, the FT explains, had already ordered Ant Group to split the back-and of the two operated lending businesses – Huabei, which is similar to a traditional credit card, and Jiebei, which provides small unsecured loans on the other. – from the rest of the financial offer and to bring in external shareholders. But now the order is that the two businesses operate with two different apps.

Even more burdensome for the group is the fact that the authorities plan is for Ant to transfer the data of its users necessary for the evaluation of credit decisions – we are talking about about one billion subscribers – to a new joint-venture that is partly state-controlled, two sources told the Ft.

This is a project perfectly in line with the indications given last winter by President Xi Jinping, who had said that there should be order in the chaotic world of fintechs.

The excess of funds created by quantitative aesing has favored anticompetitive and monopolistic practices on the part of Big Tech, according to a statement at the Boao Forum by former governor of the People’s Bank of China Zhou Xiaochuan. Once upon a time, companies had to compete “at real cost”, while for some time now they have had a distorted view of capital.

Naturally, the unveiling of the government plan gave a blow to Alibaba, which lost almost 4.2 percent on the stock market today in Hong Kong. Other tech giants didn’t fare well either: Tencent Holdings lost 2.7 percent and Meituan 4.5 percent. A sign that Alibaba’s competitors also know that the message is for the whole sector.

Of course, Jack Ma’s empire – which not surprisingly since the end of last year, after he had expressed criticism of Chinese regulatory policies, has in fact been eclipsed from the public scene – is the one at the center of the crosshairs. At the end of October last year, the government intervened within hours of Ant Group’s listing, a 30 billion euro deal, to block it. And then he ordered an initial renovation.

The authorities’ plan hit one of the main drivers of Alibaba’s growth. CreditTech – which is the container in which both Huabei and Jiebei are located – in the first half of 2020 came to account for 39 percent of Alibaba Group’s revenue.

But, if the authorities’ plan were to go through, Ant would lose the ability to independently assess the creditworthiness of customers. It would have to turn to a joint venture for access to user data, of which it is a part, but together with the cumbersome Chinese state.

(with source Askanews)

Source: RSS Economia by

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