China should borrow the play-book 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 earlier today.
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 behavior by internet platforms, focused on e-commerce sites and payment services at the likes of Alibaba Group, according to Reuters.
They also come soon after a shock suspension last week of the planned $37bn share listing of Ant Group, an Alibaba affiliate, not long after regulators warned the company its lucrative online lending business faced tighter government scrutiny.
“Regarding the problem of market monopoly in some areas, we should learn from foreign experience, strengthen antimonopoly 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 behavior,” 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.