Chinese regulators, including the central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), plan to task internet platforms with providing their vast loan data to some of the nation’s credit bureaus, the two sources said.

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China plans to push tech giants, including Ant Group, Tencent and JD.com, to share consumer loan data to prevent over-borrowing and fraud, two people with knowledge of the matter said at the time. of Beijing’s latest review tightening.

The plan, if implemented, would effectively end the government’s laissez-faire approach to industry and is another sign of attempts to contain the country’s tech champions. Large Internet platforms have tended to resist the transmission of their data, a crucial asset that helps them manage operations, manage risk and attract new customers.

Chinese regulators, including the central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), plan to task internet platforms with providing their vast loan data to some of the nation’s credit bureaus, the two sources said.

The agencies, which include the PBOC Credit Reference Center, China’s main centralized credit scoring system, and central bank Baihang Credit, the country’s first licensed personal credit agency, will share the data more widely with banks and other lenders to adequately assess risks and prevent over-indebtedness, the people said.

Ant and Tencent declined to comment.

JD.com and the PBOC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The two sources declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak to the media. Details of the regulatory proposal to include Tencent and JD.com in the loan data sharing agreement were not released.

“China appears to be making the unpopular, albeit fair, choice to sacrifice the current closed-loop mentality financial paradigm in favor of a broader digital identity framework with potentially better access and greater efficiency in the long run “said Alex Sirakov, founder of AquariusX, a Shanghai-based consulting firm.

The plan comes on top of recent proposals to step up the review of tech champions and harness empire building, primarily in the financial sector. The change contributed to the dramatic collapse of fintech giant Ant’s $ 37 billion IPO in November.

Since then, regulators have launched an antitrust investigation into Ant’s former parent company, Alibaba, and ordered the fintech company to shake up its credit and consumer finance business.

The latest regulatory proposal for internet businesses also comes as Beijing wears loose risk controls at banks, mostly smaller ones, in terms of consumer lending and their over-reliance on platforms like Ant. to find clients.

“Small banks are generally in a weaker position when partnering with fintech giants like Ant. They relied heavily on data from Ant to take out loans and manage risk, ”said a senior regulator.

“When defaults do occur, they have to bear most of the losses,” said the regulator, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter. “It is essential for lenders to have better access to more complete and detailed credit data on borrowers.”

CUSTOMER CREDIT

The latest attempt at regulation would likely reduce the scale and profitability of tech majors’ lending businesses. This area is a cash cow, as companies levy high service fees on banks in exchange for access to millions of customers using proprietary data.

Through its Alipay super-app, Ant collects data from over a billion people, many of whom are young and savvy Internet users without a credit card or sufficient bank credit records, as well as 80 million traders, according to the company’s prospectus and analysts.

Read also: China orders Ant Group to rectify its activities

Ant runs Zhima Credit which stands for “Sesame Credit” in English, one of the largest private credit scoring platforms in China, with proprietary algorithms and methodology that rate people and small businesses based on their use of services. related to Ant.

The company offers limited information on borrowers to around 100 banks and takes the so-called “technology service fees” – a 30-40% reduction, on average, in interest on loans it facilitates, analysts say .

Ant’s consumer loan balance stood at 1.7 trillion yuan ($ 263 billion) at the end of June, or 21% of all short-term consumer loans issued by institutions. Chinese financial filing, according to its IPO prospectus and PBOC data.

Compared to Ant, competitors Tencent and JD.com operate relatively smaller consumer credit businesses.

Tencent’s private lender WeBank has been operating the Weilidai consumer lending unit since 2015, which made more than 460 million withdrawals on loans with a total value of over 3.7 trillion yuan at the end. of 2019, according to WeBank’s 2019 annual report.

JD.com’s fintech arm, JD Digits, operates two platforms – Baitiao and Jintiao – which had a total of 70 million annual active users and collected a total of 4.4 billion yuan in technology service fees. during the first semester of 2020.

Jintiao facilitated consumer loans worth only 261 billion yuan in the same period last year, according to the JD Digits prospectus.