China central bank urges Ant Group to set 'rectification' plan swiftly
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's central bank on Sunday urged Ant Group to work out a specific plan as soon as possible to meet regulatory requirements and fully understand the seriousness of the "rectification work" required.
The People's Bank of China (PBOC) also urged Ant to correct illegal financial activities, including lending, insurance and wealth management businesses, and regulate the rating business to protect personal data, Vice Governor Pan Gongsheng said a day after meeting fintech representatives -Group.
Chinese regulators last month announced the planned $ 37 billion initial public offering of Ant, which was on track to be the largest in the world just two days before it began trading its shares in Shanghai and Hong Kong abruptly exposed.
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Ant did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.
On Thursday, authorities said they had opened an antitrust investigation into parent company Alibaba Group and would summon Ant in the coming days, the latest blow to Jack Ma's e-commerce and fintech empire.
The PBOC's demands also include that Ant be more transparent about its payment transactions with third parties and not engage in unfair competition and that the formation of financial holding companies is compliant with the law to ensure capital adequacy, Pan said.
China's annual conference on key economic work, a gathering of leaders and decision makers to set the course for the economy in 2021, promised this month to step up antimonopoly efforts and curb "disorderly capital growth."
Pan said Ant needs to strengthen its risk management and maintain the continuity of its services and normal business operations.
During the meeting, regulators highlighted Ant's problems, including poor corporate governance, rejection of regulatory requirements, arbitrary regulation of illegal rules, using market advantage to knock out competitors, and violating consumers' legal interests.
(Reporting by Stella Qiu, Cheng Leng, Yilei Sun and Ryan Woo; Editing by William Mallard)
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