China plans to break up Ant’s Alipay, force creation of separate loans app

An Alipay logo is seen at a cashier in Shanghai January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Ali Song/Files

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 https://on.ft.com/3ElGHtw 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.

The partners plan to establish a personal credit-scoring firm wherein Ant and Zhejiang Tourism Investment Group Co Ltd 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.

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.

Reuters 

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.