Anti-monopoly measures for internet platforms not aimed at private firms: regulator
Published: Jan 22, 2021 11:16 PM

Two people chat outside the headquarters of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission on April 8. Photo: IC

 Anti-monopoly measures for internet platforms are not aimed at private firms nor a certain company, and will not affect the normal business of related companies, China's banking regulator said during a press conference on Thursday.

The regulator said it will encourage bank insurance institutions to cooperate with Internet platform companies including the companies being interviewed in accordance with laws, and the financial support policy will also remain unchanged.

The comments come as government supervision of internet service platforms has tightened in China, with online financial businesses being placed under scrutiny. 

China's central bank also unveiled draft rules for non-banking payment institutions on Wednesday, intending to flesh out the regulatory toolbox that would include anti-monopoly regulatory toughening.

While the draft rules don't single out specific payment agencies, attention has focused on how the country's two major digital payment platforms - Tencent's WeChat Pay and Ant Group's Alipay - will comply with the new rules. 

Jack Ma Yun, the founder of Alibaba, and Ant management staff were summoned for regulatory talks on November 2, ahead of an announcement halting Ant's dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong. 

The financial management department interviewed some internet platform companies such as Ant Group and pointed out that they have played an innovative role in developing financial technology and improving the efficiency and inclusiveness of financial services, Liang Tao, vice chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), said on Friday.

However, problems with illegal regulatory arbitrage, monopolistic operation, and damage to the legitimate rights and interests of consumers were also pointed out, Liu said.

Ant Group confirmed in December that it had "proactively" removed a good number of online deposit products from its platforms in line with the stricter regulatory requirements, according to media reports.

JD Finance App, launched by e-commerce giant, has followed its peers in stopping updates to its online deposit products last month. Other internet companies, including Tencent and Baidu, also moved to suspend trading of online financial products on their financial platforms.