China’s Central Bank Governor Says Fintech Crackdown to Continue

By Rita Li
Rita Li
Rita Li
Rita Li is a reporter with The Epoch Times, focusing on China-related topics. She began writing for the Chinese-language edition in 2018.
October 11, 2021 Updated: October 11, 2021

China’s central bank vowed to keep its eye on monopolistic behaviors and consumer data security matters occurring on internet platforms. The move—claimed by regulators to be for fair competition—was to tap the wealth, said an observer.

Governor of the People’s Bank of China Yi Gang addressed a meeting Oct. 7 saying the bank will work with anti-monopoly authorities to prevent firms from abusing dominant market positions, according to an Oct. 9 release.

The regulation will eliminate “unfair competitive practices” and better protect consumer rights, the governor said. The announcement affirmed an ongoing clampdown on industries involving privacy, data management, and antitrust.

Yet such legal loopholes have existed for a long time, Shi Huawei, a former financial planner at Guangzhou Bank of Communications, told The Epoch Times last Friday.

“[The Party] will turn a blind eye until it no longer wants to,” said Shi, describing the rapidly rising tech giants as homegrown crops ready to harvest “in various names.”

While regulators encourage businesses to take advantage of the legal system riddled with loopholes, Shi said holes would end in a dead-end.

The regime has been rolling out anti-monopoly and data security curbs since late 2020, drawing an end to the success stories of some decades-old firms, including e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings, also known as WeChat’s operator.

In April, Alibaba was fined $2.8 billion over monopoly allegations. It came after regulators suspended the planned $37 billion listing of its financial technology affiliate Ant Group last November. The central bank also cut the Ant Group’s links to its payment services firm Alipay.

Beijing says anti-monopoly enforcement will be a priority through 2025.

Meanwhile, a law that takes effect Nov. 1 establishes security standards, prohibits companies from disclosing information without customer permission, and tells them to limit how much they collect. Unlike data protection laws in Western countries, the Chinese rules do not limit the government’s access to personal information.

Investor jitters have knocked more than $1.3 trillion off the total market value of tech giants.

Rita Li
Rita Li is a reporter with The Epoch Times, focusing on China-related topics. She began writing for the Chinese-language edition in 2018.