China Mulls Harder Antitrust Rules For Payments Industry

China’s central bank has proposed stepping up antitrust measures for companies in the non-bank payments industry, such as Ant Group’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay.

Under draft rules proposed on Wednesday, January 20, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) can advise the state council’s antitrust committee to stop companies abusing their dominant position or even break up a non-bank institution if it “severely hinders the healthy development of the payment service market”.

So far, China has 233 licensed players, with the market dominated by Alipay and WeChat Pay in terms of online transactions, according to a report by consultancy iResearch.

The PBOC’s proposed rules coincide with a wider government clampdown on the financial activities of Chinese technology giants amid growing concern over the risk of financial contagion resulting from their empire building.

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