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The central bank is pressing on with a push to internationalise the yuan. Photo: Reuters

China’s central bank keeps sights set on monopolies

  • PBOC says unfair competition will be a focus in the second half of the year
  • Authority will also press on with its e-yuan pilot project and rein in hype around trading in virtual currencies
China’s central bank has pledged to oppose monopolies and unfair competition in the second half of the year as it continues its crackdown on tech giants and internet platform firms.

In a statement on Saturday, the People’s Bank of China said it would “supervise and guide platform companies to make comprehensive rectifications in accordance with regulatory requirements”.

“[The central bank] will cooperate with relevant departments to resolutely implement the decisions ... of the Communist Party’s Central Committee and the State Council on tackling monopolies and prevent the disorderly expansion of capital,” it said after a work conference on Friday led by central bank governor Yi Gang and party secretary Guo Shuqing.

“[It will] interview leading platform companies engaged in financial businesses, and urge them to fully implement financial supervision, fair competition, and protection of the legitimate rights and interests of consumers.”

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It also said it would push for the widespread use of information and data and improvements to the “national database management system”. In addition, it would press on with its e-yuan pilot project and rein in hype around trading in virtual currencies.

China’s mobile-payment market is dominated by Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay, which have created a massive online ecosystem offering services and products based on their digital wallets. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

But the PBOC has authorised nine other institutions to design their own wallets, segregating the data set into portions of transaction information collected by each wallet. The central bank will have access to all of the data, because the e-yuan will be used by all of the institutions’ digital wallets.

Chinese central bank pledges it will not change course over financial risk management

Actions by various watchdogs against sectors from education to ride-hailing have raised fears among investors about Beijing’s push for control of big private enterprises.

The decision to overhaul the private tutoring sector to bar core subjects such as maths, science, and history alongside tutoring on weekends and public holidays for all children younger than six caught the market off guard, spreading fears that the ban would widen to other sectors.

Compounding the fears was the removal of Didi Chuxing, the nation’s biggest ride-hailing service, from app stores on “national security” grounds in July, just days after it went public on the New York Stock Exchange. Meituan, the Tencent-backed company, is also a regulatory target.

With Jack Ma’s Ant Group reined in, China’s central bank sets sights on other fintech firms’ monopolistic behaviour

The central bank said it would ensure business continuity and normal business operations. The rule of law would be applied and property rights and intellectual property rights would be protected.

The quality of financial services to the broad masses would also be maintained.

“[The PBOC will] continue to do a good job in financial services and management, deepening the reform of decentralisation, management and services and actively promoting the implementation of the payment service fee reduction policy????,” it said.

The PBOC also said the financial industry would be opened up in an orderly manner and it would further internationalise the yuan, including development of offshore yuan markets and cross-border trade and investment.

It would also proactively and orderly expand the opening up of the financial industry on the basis of controllable risks, fully take part in the effective implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, and systematically sort out the negative list of financial services.