The Chinese authorities are looking at dozens of investments made by the large payment service provider Ant Group. Reuters news agency reports it on the basis of insiders. With the action, China would like to toughen up the business empire of the well-known Chinese multimillionaire Jack Ma, the great man behind both Ant Group and Web Store Group Alibaba.
The government would now also consider obliging Ant Group to divest part of its investments, mainly in technology and fintech start-ups. This concerns, for example, companies that have been competing unfairly on the market, according to one of the Reuters ‘ sources. Forced divestment of interests in other companies would be another setback for Ma, as Ant Group would be deprived of potentially lucrative investments.
There was no prior threat of the break-up of Ant Group, but that possibility is now in the air. At the beginning of November, the Chinese authorities unexpectedly stopped Ant Group’s mega-tour. The financial service provider wanted to raise nearly $ 35 billion on the stock markets in Shanghai and Hong Kong, making it the largest stock market ever.
China has recently taken a firm stand against anti-competitive behaviour by its major technology groups. Just last week, it was announced that the Chinese competition regulators started an investigation into Alibaba on the grounds of suspicion of abuse of its strong dominant position. The Chinese government also wants Ant Group to stop providing consumer credit and asset management services. According to Beijing, the company should only deal with payment services, such as the Alipay payment.