Technology shares in China have fallen today on reports that Beijing wants to break up Alipay, the 1bn plus-user superapp owned by Jack Ma’s Ant Group.
According to the Financial Times, China wants to create a separate app for the company’s highly profitable loans business, in the most visible restructuring yet of the fintech giant.
“The government believes big tech’s monopoly power comes from their control of data.
“It wants to end that.
Chinese regulators have already ordered Ant to separate the back end of its two lending businesses, Huabei, which is similar to a traditional credit card, and Jiebei, which makes small unsecured loans, from the rest of its financial offerings and bring in outside shareholders.
Now officials want the two businesses to be split into an independent app as well.
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The markets are starting the new week worrying about growth prospects and inflation, the possible scaling back of central bank stimulus package loom, and China’s ongoing technology crackdown.
For US investors the main concern appears to be a slowing economy coming at a time when inflation appears to be showing little sign of slowing down, and after US PPI for August saw yet another record high in data released at the end of last week.
With the US Federal Reserve due to meet next week, and the narrative clearly moving towards a tapering of asset purchases sooner rather than later, there appears to be a build up in anxiety that the continued rise in inflationary pressure may well be much more persistent than central bankers would have us believe, with the resultant rise in yields and rebound in the US dollar.
“A Covid chasm has opened up between low paid and average paid workers and the better off. It feels like that divide is really sharp.
“Politicians need to start addressing how to close that chasm. That’s important not just for working families but for the economy. We hear a lot about levelling up but if it is not about workers’ rights, their bargaining power and their pay then what is it about?”