A senior official at China’s banking regulator has warned that technological advances in the financial industry risked creating monopolies, a day after Beijing unveiled new antitrust rules for the nation’s largest internet groups, reported the Financial Times.
The warning helped fuel a second day of selling of Chinese tech stocks, wiping a total of about $254 billion in market value off ecommerce groups such as Alibaba, JD.com and Tencent.
“Special attention must be paid to the new risks brought about by the digital transformation [of financial services],” said Liang Tao, vice-president of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission at a forum in Beijing on Wednesday. “This is especially true with cyber security, data protection and market monopoly.”
Analysts said the harsher official stance suggested Beijing was becoming less tolerant of the nation’s burgeoning private fintech companies. “The likes of Ant Group have grown by so much that the government now sees them as a drag on, rather than a driver of, the economy,” said Bo Zhuang, an economist at TS Lombard.
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