China To “Deepen” Antitrust Probe Into Mobile Payments

China’s central bank will “deepen” its antitrust investigations into the mobile payment sector, which has been dominated by a few private financial technology firms, despite “interim progress” made in the last year, its deputy governor said on Friday, September 24.

Beijing has enhanced the regulation surrounding Big Tech companies and has indicated a continued clampdown amid the country’s prolonged de-risking strategy.

“The antitrust actions in the payment sector need to deepen,” Fan Yifei told China Payment and Clearing Forum in Beijing. “The central bank will persistently urge platform companies to rectify their payment businesses.”

Mobile payments are one of the most visible parts in China’s fast-growing digital economy, which rose by 9.6 per cent to US$5.4 trillion last year to become the world’s second largest only behind the United States.

Central bank data showed that non-banking payment agencies – which are headlined by Tencent’s WeChat Pay and Ant Group’s Alipay – handled 294.6 trillion yuan (US$45.6 trillion) across 827.3 billion transactions last year, up by 17.9% and 14.9%, respectively, from a year earlier.

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