In this file:
· Chinese Government Asks Ant Group To Share Consumer Data
· Billionaire Jack Ma, who hasn't been seen in 2 months, is reportedly 'laying low.' But other Chinese businessmen who have disappeared from the public after sparring with regulators have faced different fates.
Chinese Government Asks Ant Group To Share Consumer Data
January 6, 2021
Chinese regulators want billionaire Jack Ma to share consumer-credit data collected from his financial technology company Ant Group, which he's largely resisted doing for years, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports.
Regulators had long viewed Ma as a potential source of unfair competitive advantage over smaller lenders or even bigger banks through the Alipay app, which is used by over a billion people, WSJ writes. Alipay is in possession of a good amount of data on users' spending, borrowing and bill and loan payment habits and histories.
Utilizing that massive amount of information, Ma's Ant Group has made loans to half a billion people, and has worked with 100 commercial banks on supplying most of that funding, WSJ writes. Those arrangements have seen the banks taking most of the risks of borrowers defaulting, with Ant taking the profits as a middleman.
Authorities want to overturn that model, due to what it says is potential for danger to the country's financial system. They want to make Ant utilize more of its own funds and also break what they say is the company's monopoly over data.
Ma has little room to bargain at this point after the drubbing his empire has taken in recent months. The much-heralded Ant Group IPO, proposed to go for $37 billion in both Shanghai and Hong Kong, was shot down by President Xi Jinping personally after Ma's statements criticizing government regulations on big tech...
Billionaire Jack Ma, who hasn't been seen in 2 months, is reportedly 'laying low.' But other Chinese businessmen who have disappeared from the public after sparring with regulators have faced different fates.
o Yahoo Finance reported Sunday that Jack Ma, the Chinese billionaire who founded Alibaba and Ant Group, hasn't been seen publicly in more than two months.
o CNBC's David Faber reported Tuesday morning Ma is being "less visible, purposefully," but that the businessman hasn't gone missing.
o Late last year, Chinese regulators launched an antitrust investigation into Alibaba and introduced regulations that halted Ant Group's initial public offering.
o Other prominent businessmen, like Ren Zhiqiang, a retired real-estate tycoon, and Xiao Jianhua, an asset manager, also disappeared after facing criticism from Chinese regulators.
Allana Akhtar, Business Insider
Jan 5, 2021
The Chinese billionaire and Alibaba founder Jack Ma has been noticeably absent from public life.
Yahoo Finance reported on Sunday that Ma hadn't been seen publicly in more than two months. Ma missed an appearance in November on a TV talent show he founded. Another Alibaba executive replaced Ma, and the show's website removed Ma's picture, The Telegraph reported.
CNBC's David Faber reported Tuesday morning Ma is being "less visible, purposefully," but hasn't gone missing.
Chinese regulators recently opened an antitrust investigation into Alibaba, Ma's e-commerce giant. Ant Group, Ma's financial-services company, has drawn the ire of Chinese banks that accused it of stealing business from them. The country introduced regulations in November that halted Ant Group's initial public offering.
Ant Group and Alibaba were not immediately available for comment.
Ma reportedly criticized global financial regulators at a conference in Shanghai in late October, calling them an "old people's club" ill-suited to oversee Chinese tech innovation. Duncan Clark, the chairman of the Beijing-based tech firm BDA China, speculated that Ma could have been told to "lay low" because of the new rules, Reuters reported.
While Ma may be trying to stay out of the public eye during the investigation, his absence is reminiscent of other Chinese businessmen who disappeared after sparring with regulators.
Ren Zhiqiang, a retired real-estate tycoon, fell off the radar in March after accusing the Communist Party of mishandling the coronavirus pandemic, The New York Times reported. Beijing later sentenced Ren, 69, to 18 years in prison.
The country reportedly arrested other critics of its response to the pandemic, including Xu Zhangrun, a law professor, and Zhang Xuezhong, a human-rights lawyer.
Xiao Jianhua, an asset manager, was abducted from a hotel in Hong Kong in January 2017, Reuters reported. Xiao disappeared into Chinese custody, and the country later seized parts of his company, Tomorrow Group, The Times reported in July. Regulators had accused Xiao and other tycoons of taking would-be investors away from Chinese stock markets, The Guardian said.
Meng Hongwei, the former head of Interpol, disappeared in September 2018 during a trip to China from France, the BBC reported. Last January, China sentenced him to 13 1/2 years in prison on bribery charges...
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