Jack Ma’s Ant Group is making it more obvious to customers whether they are borrowing money from outside parties or from the business itself, as the fintech giant continues to acquiesce with new regulations, reports The Wall Street Journal. Before its wings were clipped by Beijing, Ant, via its payment and lifestyle app Alipay, offered consumer-credit services that were popular among Chinese consumers and small businesses.
Ant, which is 33% owned by Alibaba Group Holding, has been forced to revamp its businesses according to directions laid out by regulators including the People’s Bank of China. As part of the overhaul, Ant set up a new consumer-finance company with several other companies in June, and started to fold the credit business in the new entity.
Ant offers Huabei, which means “just spend” in Mandarin, a virtual credit card-like service, and short-term unsecured loans under the banner of Jiebei, which means “just borrow.” Together the two products were used by about half a billion people in China, and accounted for nearly a fifth of the country’s outstanding short-term consumer debt as of June last year, the latest data available.