Beijing plans to break up billionaire Jack Ma’s digital payments empire as the Communist regime continues a crackdown on Chinese big tech. Ma’s Ant Group, which owns the “superapp” Alipay, faces demands from China to spin off its credit card and unsecured loans divisions. It will also be required to provide credit scoring data on its users to a new joint venture that will be partly state-owned. Jack Ma is feeling the heat from China’s government.Credit:AP Shares in Alibaba, the e-commerce company founded by Mr Ma that controls Ant, fell 5 per cent in Hong Kong on the new state crackdown, first reported by the Financial Times. Ant spokesmen did not respond to requests for comment. In November, Ant was forced to shelve plans for a $US200 billion ($271 billion) float at the last minute after an intervention by Chinese regulators. State watchdogs have come down hard on Alipay’s vast short-term loans business. In the first half of 2020, its loans division made up 39 per cent of its -revenues and had a total loan book worth 2.1 trillion yuan. They have also sought to curtail the rise of Ma, the 57-year-old billionaire who founded Alibaba in 1999, who had grown increasingly outspoken against China’s financial strictures. Alipay’s app combines digital payments with dozens of other financial products such as lending, insurance and wealth management. State watchdogs have come down hard on Alipay’s vast short-term loans business.Credit:Bloomberg China’s plans will see Alipay’s Huabei product, similar to a credit card with 190 million users, and its Jiebei service, a loans product used by close to 500 million people, combined into a separate app. Ant will also have to split its credit scoring arm into a separate joint venture with access to data on its huge pool of users and will include state investors. Shares in Alibaba, which owns 33 per cent of Ant, have fallen 45 per cent since November. On Monday they fell a further 4.2 per cent. Its falling shares have knocked investors such as Japan’s SoftBank, which owns around 25 per cent of Alibaba. UK investors such as Scottish Mortgage are also substantial shareholders in Alibaba. Telegraph, London The Market Recap newsletter is a wrap of the day’s trading. Get it each weekday afternoon. Most Viewed in Business From our partners Source: Read Full Article