The noose is tightening a little more around the Chinese tech giants. For several weeks, the government has been stepping up the pressure on its flagships more than ever. The latest victim is Alipay, a payment app owned by Jack Ma’s group, Ant. According to Financial Times, Beijing would have requested the dismantling of the app in order to separate its loan activity, which is very profitable. Back in April, Ant had already been the target of a government offensive with a Jack Ma pushed out.
But this is not just a question of monopoly. At the same time, Ant would be forced to cede its users’ data to a third-party company headed in part by the Chinese state. Rather sensitive data since we are talking here about banking information gleaned originally to decide on the allocation of loans.
Several companies supported by Beijing are already in line to join the project. Ant would thus keep 35% of its application, while the state partners involved would invest up to 5% each. Jack Ma’s company would not be the only Chinese lender concerned by this type of transaction, according to FT.
Towards the end of link blocking
Always in its desire to regulate its technological flagships, Beijing has also demanded the end of a common practice in China, namely the blocking of links from competing sites. Until then, a user in Douyin (the Chinese TikTok also supervised by ByteDance) could not share their videos through WeChat, Tencent’s messaging app, for example. Several complaints had been made to put an end to this kind of practice, but nothing could really move until the government authorities did not intervene in the debate.
This is now done since the Ministry of Industry and Information Technologies has accused the sites concerned of “Undermine the market order” and affect “User experience”. The possible consequences of refusing platforms have not been detailed for the moment.
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