China to step up scrutiny of online insurance sector - media

A man rides an electric bike past the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) building in Beijing, China February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

BEIJING, Aug 12 (Reuters) - China's banking and insurance regulator will step up its scrutiny of online insurance companies, the state-backed Shanghai Securities News reported on Thursday, widening a drive to rein in country's internet platforms.

The campaign, which targets misleading marketing practices, forced sales and inflated fees, is aimed at "purifying the market environment" and "protecting the legal interests of consumers," the paper reported, citing unnamed sources.

Potential leaks on consumer information will also be targeted, it added.

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Shares of Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance Co (6060.HK), one of the leading online insurance platforms co-invested by Alibaba Group Holding's (9988.HK) Ant Group, Tencent Holdings (0700.HK) and Ping An Insurance Group (601318.SS), tumbled as much as 9% in the morning session.

The move comes amid an ongoing crackdown on the tech industry and so-called platform economies, with restrictive measures rolled out on gaming, fintech, e-commerce and ed-tech companies in recent months.

The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment on Thursday.

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Reporting by Cheng Leng and Ryan Woo; Editing by Sam Holmes

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