China’s new monopoly rules target fintech giants

China’s new monopoly rules target fintech giants

Alipay, WeChat Pay and other nonbank payment providers could face probes

China’s biggest third-party payment providers, Alipay and WeChat Pay, could face antitrust investigations and forced divestiture under proposed rules that tighten oversight of nonbank institutions in the sector.

The government and regulators will gain new powers to fight monopolies and abuse of market power by dominant players if draft rules published on Wednesday by the People’s Bank of China governing nonbank payment providers are approved. The draft is open for public feedback until Feb. 19.

The rules are designed to “diversify regulatory measures with a focus on strengthening financial regulation and preventing systemic financial risks,” the central bank said in a statement accompanying the draft. They also “strengthen anti-monopoly measures in the payments field, clearly define the scope of the market and the standards for determining market dominance, and maintain fair competition and market order.”