Chinese Regulators Consider Antitrust Investigations into Alipay and WeChat Pay

July 31, 2020 11:21 pm

Beijing (PingWest)—China’s State Council’s antitrust committee is considering investigating Alipay and WeChat Pay, two of the county’s biggest digital payment providers, Reuters reported.

The People’s Bank of China, the central bank, has alleged the digital payment companies have used their dominant positions to quash competition, sources told the news service

It's said that the central bank formally recommended sometime in the second quarter that the State Council committee should look into antitrust issues posed by the country’s non-bank payment companies.

For more than a month, the top antitrust agency has been collecting information on Alipay, which is owned by Ant Group, the fintech affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, as well as on Tencent's WeChat Pay, according to the report.

China’s mobile banking market logged some 56.2 trillion yuan ($8 trillion) worth of transactions in the last three months of 2019, according to domestic consultancy Analysys. It estimates Alipay commands 55% of the market, while WeChat Pay has 39%.

The investigation would chill prospects for Ant Group’s planned dual listing in Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style STAR Market. If approved, the combined offering, with a valuation of more than $200 billion, is likely to be one of the largest in history.

Ant Group and Tencent are lobbying government officials in an effort to prevent a probe, said the sources.