China Regulator Considers Antitrust Probe Of Alipay, WeChat Pay

China’s State Council’s Anti-Monopoly Commission is considering investigating Alipay and WeChat Pay, two of the county’s biggest online payment and money transfer platforms, Reuters reported.

The People’s Bank of China, the nation’s central bank that regulates financial institutions, has alleged the digital payment companies have used their strong positions to crush competition, sources told the news service.

For more than a month, the government’s antitrust watchdog has been gathering information on Ant Group’s Alipay, the online payments arm of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China’s eCommerce superstore, and WeChat Pay, a division of Tencent Holdings Ltd., Reuters reported.

There are estimates that the companies capture all but 6 percent of the digital payment market with Alipay at 55 percent while WeChat Pay has 39 percent. COVID-19 and its aftermath moved the country from cash to online payments. The mobile banking market reported 56.2 trillion yuan ($8 trillion) worth of transactions in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to Analysys Mason, the London-based global research firm.

An investigation could chill prospects for Ant Group’s plans to file an initial public offering (IPO) on Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style STAR Market and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

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