China continues its crackdown on Jack Ma’s business empire. Regulators have ordered subsidiary Ant Group to restrict its activities. Ant Group started out as Alipay, which has become the largest digital payment platform in the country. Over time, it has expanded to offer investment and savings accounts, as well as lending, insurance and wealth management services.
Pan Gongsheng, deputy governor of the Central Bank of China, called these services illegal and said the company should correct these activities in accordance with financial supervision rules. These services are the most profitable and fastest growing divisions of the group.
Back in November, Chinese regulators blocked Ant Group’s planned IPOs in Hong Kong and Shanghai, which were expected to raise $ 34 billion. Authorities have also introduced new bills to oversee technology companies, as well as other regulations they say are designed to protect consumers. And just a few days ago, regulators began investigating Alibaba’s suspicious monopoly behavior.
Ma’s business may have been targeted after he called Chinese banks state-owned pawnshops for giving out unnecessary loans at a financial summit in Shanghai in October. After that, Xi Jingping personally decided to cancel the IPO. Since then, Jack has disappeared from sight. The authorities do not advise him to leave the country.