Ant Group publishes rules for financial self-discipline amid stricter Chinese controls

BEIJING, March 12 (Reuters) – China’s Ant Group announced a series of rules on financial self-discipline on Friday amid an intense government scrutiny of its activities and general tightening of financial technology regulations in the country.

The rules, the first of its kind publicly released by the financial technology giant, come about four months after China suspended the company’s $ 37 billion plan to list both Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Chinese regulators have tightened their scrutiny over fintech companies amid concerns over systemic financial risk from the financial empire (9988.HK) affiliated with China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.

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In response to high regulatory pressure, the group has curtailed some of its activities, taken measures to align its capital requirements with those of banks and upgraded itself to a financial holding company.

In a statement, Ant (688688.SS) said its consumer credit platforms should not lend to minors and prevent small business loans from flowing into the stock and real estate markets.

The Group’s credit rating service Zhima Credit should also not be available to financial institutions, including micro-lenders, without addressing the specific risk of such partnerships.

Guo Shuqing, head of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, warned last week that bubble risk is a core problem facing China’s real estate sector.

Regarding the restructuring of Ant’s business, Guo said there are no restrictions on the financial business it develops, but that all of its financial activities should be governed by law.

Previously, Ant had lowered his credit limits for some young users of his Huabei virtual card product. The reduction of the credit limit should promote a “more rational” buying behavior of the users, it is said further.

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Reporting by Cheng Leng, Yingzhi Yang, and Ryan Woo; Arrangement by Christopher Cushing

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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