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China Plans Online Payment Rules That May Hit Ant, Tencent

hackingbear writes: People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, said on Wednesday that any non-bank payment company with half of the market in online transactions or two entities with a combined two-thirds share could be subject to antitrust probes, potentially dealing another blow to financial technology giant Ant Group Co. and its biggest rival Tencent Holdings Ltd. Ant’s Alipay accounts of 55.6% of the Chinese online payment market, while Tencent’s WeChat accounts for 38.8%, according to iResearch data.

“If a monopoly is confirmed, the central bank can suggest the cabinet impose restrictive measures including breaking up the entity by its business type,” reports Yahoo Finance. “Firms already with payment licenses would have a one-year grace period to comply with the new rules, the PBOC said.” Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba and Ant Groups, emerged in public as he spoke to 100 rural teachers through a video call on Wednesday for the first time since China began clamping down on his businesses, ending several months of speculation over his whereabouts. Ma last appeared publicly at a conference where he castigated China’s (and that of the world’s) financial regulatory systems in front of a room of high-ranked officials. His controversial remark, according to reports, prompted the Chinese regulator to abruptly halt Ant’s initial public offering, which would have been the biggest public share sale of all time.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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