China

China plans to break up Ant's Alipay and force creation of separate loans app - FT

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Sept 12 (Reuters) - Beijing wants to break up Alipay, the hugely popular payments app owned by Jack Ma's Ant Group, and create a separate app for the company's highly profitable loans business, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

The plan will also see Ant turn over the user data that underpins its lending decisions to a new credit scoring joint-venture, which will be partly state-owned, the newspaper reported, citing two people familiar with the process.

State-backed firms are set to take a sizeable stake in Ant's credit-scoring joint venture for the first time, three people told Reuters last week.

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An Alipay sign at the Shanghai office of Alipay, owned by Ant Group, an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, in Shanghai, China, September 14, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

The partners plan to establish a personal credit-scoring firm wherein Ant and Zhejiang Tourism Investment Group Co Ltd (ZJGVTT.UL) will each own 35% of the venture, while other state-backed partners, Hangzhou Finance and Investment Group and Zhejiang Electronic Port, will each hold slightly more than 5%, said one of the people. read more

According to the FT report, Ant will not be China's only online lender affected by the new rules. The company did not immediately respond to a Reuters' request for a comment.

In April, Chinese regulators asked Ant to conduct a sweeping business overhaul, include turning Ant itself into a financial holding firm, and fold its two lucrative micro-loan businesses Jiebei and Huabei, into the new consumer finance firm.

Chinese regulatory authorities have been targeting Ant Group and other internet "platform" giants in a wide-ranging crackdown encompassing antitrust and privacy issues, user data and cryptocurrencies.

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Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill

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