China Reins Giants Like Tencent, Bytedance Among Online Companies

Chinese regulators have called on 13 online platforms to stick to tighter regulations in their financial divisions, as a part of a wider push to rein in China’s tech giants.

They include Tencent and ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok.

The authorities said the aim was to stop monopolistic behaviour and therefore the “disorderly expansion of capital”.

For many years, Beijing took a hands-off approach to encourage the tech platforms to grow.

But official scrutiny of their platforms has stepped up as they need to be branched out into financial services.

“Internet platforms have played a crucial role in improving the efficiency of monetary services and broadening the access of monetary services to more people,” the People’s Bank of China said during a statement.

“At an equivalent time, some financial services were running without licenses, and there are serious rule violations in areas like regulatory arbitrage, unfair competition, and damaging consumers’ interests,” it said.

The meeting focused on the financial platforms of several of China’s biggest technology companies.

Platforms operated by e-commerce giant JD.com, handset maker Xiaomi, ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing and food delivery firm Meituan were among those to face the regulators.

They were ordered to line up financial holding companies, a move that tightens capital requirements.

They were also asked to draft “business rectification” plans to suits regulations, cut “improper” links between their payment tools and other financial products, and break “monopolies” in holding data.

The regulators’ list appears broadly almost like an inventory of demands they made from Alibaba’s affiliate financial company Ant Group earlier this month.

Ant Group’s mega $37bn (£27bn) share market launch was derailed by regulators in November over concerns about its finance model.

Beijing’s crackdown on fintech began after an October speech by Ant founder Jack Ma criticizing the country’s regulatory system.

Ant’s affiliate company Alibaba was earlier this month hit with a record fine of $2.8bn on Friday over monopoly concerns.

Analysts say the fine shows China intends to manoeuvre against internet platforms that it thinks are too big.

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