Tencent shares slide on reports of PBOC halt to online credit cards

BEIJING, March 14 Thu Mar 13, 2014 11:26pm EDT

BEIJING, March 14 (Reuters) - Tencent Holdings Ltd shares slid as much as 6.4 pct amid reports that China's central bank has called for a halt to online credit card use.

The report that the People's Bank of China (PBOC) had issued a statement telling China CITIC Bank Corp, which operates virtual credit cards in cooperation with Tencent and ecommerce firm Alibaba Group Holding, was first reported by 21st Century Business Herald.

Alibaba and Tencent later confirmed to Reuters they had received the notice about the PBOC's plan. A PBOC spokesman said the bank was investigating the reports.

Alibaba announced the new virtual credit cards on Tuesday. The cards can be used to buy goods through its online payment affiliate Alipay, part of its push into offering financial services. Tencent followed with its own credit card announcement on Wednesday.