China gives green light to Ant-backed credit rating firm and state-owned enterprises

A man walks past an Ant Group logo at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China on July 8, 2021. REUTERS / Yilei Sun

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BEIJING, Nov.26 (Reuters) – China’s central bank on Friday announced that it had accepted the request for a personal credit rating joint venture backed by Ant Group, Alibaba’s fintech subsidiary (9988.HK) and others companies.

Qiantang Credit Rating Co Ltd will become the third largest personal credit rating company in China if officially approved by regulators.

It will be registered in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, with a capital of 1 billion yuan ($ 156.50 million), the central bank said. The city is where Alibaba and Ant are based.

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Ant and the state-backed Zhejiang Tourism Investment Group Co Ltd [RIC:RIC:ZJGVTT.UL] will each own 35% of the company, according to a statement from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).

Other state-backed partners, including Hangzhou Finance and Investment Group and Zhejiang Electronic Port, will each hold 6.5%.

Transfar Group, a non-state-backed shareholder, will own 7%, while the remaining 10% will be held by Hangzhou Xishu.

Hangzhou Xishu is an entity that manages employee share ownership plans, said a source familiar with the matter.

The establishment of the company is part of the overall overhaul of Ant’s business ordered by regulators that abruptly ended its successful initial public offering (IPO) last November.

The government has pushed state-backed companies to exert more influence over businesses in the fast-growing but poorly regulated new economy, Reuters reported. Read more

It is also the central bank’s one-year attempt to link loan data between different online lending platforms and strengthen controls over credit information sharing to avoid excessive borrowing and fraud.

Prior to Qiantang, the central bank approved Baihang Credit in 2018, China’s first licensed personal credit agency with nine co-vested parties, including the credit rating units of Ant and Tencent Holdings (0700.HK).

It granted a second such approval to create Pudao Credit Rating in December 2020, a venture between the investment arm of the Beijing government and subsidiaries of e-commerce giant (9618.HK) and maker of Xiaomi Corp smartphones (1810.HK). ).

($ 1 = 6.3901 Chinese yuan)

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Reporting by Cheng Leng, Zhang Yan, Ryan Woo and Julie Zhu; Editing by Edmund Blair and Louise Heavens

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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