Ant should also be fully licensed to operate its personal credit business, and be more transparent about its third-party payment transactions and not engage in unfair competition, Pan added.
Mr Pan also said it was important to stimulate the vitality of market players and enhance Chinese fintech enterprises competitiveness in the global market.
In its response, Ant Group said it would establish a working group to fully implement the regulatory requirements, enhance risk management of its financial businesses, and improve its corporate governance and business compliance.
A work plan and timetable will be made in a timely manner, it said.
Mr Ma was advised by the Chinese government to stay in the country, Bloomberg News has reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. Mr Ma could not be reached for comment.
Mr Pan said Ant representatives met on Saturday with officials from the PBoC and other Chinese banking, securities and foreign exchange regulators.
During the meeting, regulators pointed out Ant’s issues including its poor corporate governance, defiance of regulatory demands, illegal regulatory arbitrage, the use of its market advantage to squeeze out competitors, and harming consumers’ legal interests, according to Mr Pan.
Ant traces its beginnings to Alipay, which was launched in 2004 as a payment service, and is 33 per cent owned by Alibaba. Its Alipay app dominates digital payments in China, with more than 730 million monthly users.
The Hangzhou-based company also built an empire connecting China’s borrowers and lenders, securing short-term loans within minutes. It was poised to be valued at more than $US300 billion in its stock market debut.
Last month, China issued draft rules aimed at preventing monopolistic behaviour by internet firms, and the Politburo this month vowed to strengthen anti-monopoly efforts in 2021 and rein in “disorderly capital expansion”.
China also warned internet giants this month to brace for increased scrutiny, as it slapped fines and announced probes into mergers involving Alibaba and Tencent Holdings.
In recent years, Ant Group has repeatedly emphasised that it is tech-driven, even though its revenue has mainly been generated by its financial units. Its rapid expansion was largely due to its ability to sidestep some of the more stringent requirements for traditional financial institutions, analysts said.
With Caixin

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