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China's banking regulator urges enhanced anti-monopoly scrutiny in financial sector

China's banking regulator urges enhanced anti-monopoly scrutiny in financial sector

A woman wearing a mask walks past the headquarters of the People's Bank of China, the central bank, in Beijing, China, Feb 3, 2020. (File photo: REUTERS/Jason Lee)

BEIJING: China should borrow the playbook of foreign countries and step up anti-monopoly scrutiny in the financial sector to protect the interests of consumers, a senior official at the country's top banking watchdog said on Wednesday (Nov 11).

The remarks by Liang Tao, vice chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), came a day after China published draft rules aimed at preventing monopolistic behaviour by Internet platforms, focused on e-commerce sites and payment services such as Alibaba Group.

They also come soon after a shock suspension last week of the planned US$37 billion share listing of Ant Group, an Alibaba affiliate, not long after regulators warned the company its lucrative online lending business faced tighter government scrutiny.

READ: Ant Group fiasco reflects battle for China's financial soul

"Regarding the problem of market monopoly in some areas, we should learn from foreign experience, strengthen anti-monopoly scrutiny, and ensure fair competition and market order," said Liang, speaking at a Beijing conference.

China will keep encouraging innovation in the financial technology sector, but will take care to strike a balance between financial development and financial risks brought about by digitisation, Liang added.

"We'll pay close attention especially to risks including cybersecurity, data security and market monopoly behaviour," he said.

Liang also reiterated calls for banks not to outsource key financial credentials such as risk management, internal auditing, and even strategy planning to third-party institutions when involved in business ties with big tech firms.

China's Financial Stability and Development Committee, a Cabinet-level body headed by Vice Premier Liu He, last month flagged the need to improve mechanisms to ensure fair competition and called for the strengthening of anti-monopoly law enforcement.

Source: Reuters/dv


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