China’s Fintech Firms Struggle As Govt Steers Towards Imposing Severe Rules

China has been spearheading the innovation of finance and technology. Chinese business magnate, Jack Ma has been catching the eyes of many with his big moves in the fintech sector. However, Ma was seen making news over a set back that was caused by the government that further disrupted his intention of listing the Ant Group’s $35 billion IPO was put on hold.

China’s Big Takedown

Jack Ma wasn’t the only one to bear the wrath of the suspension of the IPO, several companies including, Richard Liu’s JD Digits Technology Holding, Lufac Holding were also subject to the sector-wide IPO crackdown. Ma’s online lending platform, Ant was shown the door and the regulators were ordered to be more severe with the same. While several believes that the latest move of the government was to reboot the existing regulatory environment, it was pointed out that it was all a part of China’s transition that entailed keeping the technology giants in check.

Analysts across the globe were inclined towards the fact that China intended to send a message to its fintech firms as financial stability is mostly political in the country. A Washington DC-based analyst, Sean Ding told Bloomberg,

“The whole point of sending such a strong message is for future fintech companies to be more careful, understand that their products can bring about financial risk.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping Strikes

In an article shared by a banking regulator, President Xi Jinping’s intention about the regulatory climate is highlighted. The Chinese President had reportedly dared to master their supervisory position. With China’s online lending market as its first priority, the government began imposing rules that are severe and outrightly bringing down platforms. Reciprocating the government’s latest move, Ant decided to relax the velocity at which it packages current loans into asset-backed securities that would be sold to the investors.

While Ant has been working with the regulators to work things out, Kevin Kwek, a Singapore-based analyst suggested that investor sentiment would be more restrained when the online lending platform returns to the market.

Another platform that had also filed an IPO with the Shangai Star Market had endured a similar setback. JD Digits had an intention of entering the market with its IPO in the first had of 2021, however, this target has become a task following the government’s latest takedown. Furthermore, another platform, a newly listed one, Lufax was substantial proof of the drawbacks of going public at times of uncertain regulatory climate.

The platform was reportedly listed for lesser in the prior funding round. The post further read,

” [It] allowed existing shareholders to swap their stock into convertible bonds to make up for potential losses, according to people familiar. The lender has seen its stock swing violently since it recent debut as it’s become a target for short-sellers.”

While JD Digits has been in talks with the regulators, Lufax seems to be making amends already. Back in September, Lufax reportedly lowered the fees by further decreasing the clients’ costs. The platform has even commenced offering credit guarantee options from a wide range of insurance partners in order to make sure the customer has an increased choice.

While transparency has always been a huge deal in the world’s most populated country, the head of Asia investment strategy at Citigroup Inc.’s private-banking arm, Keng Peng told Bloomberg that the investors could be uncertain about the transparency pertaining to the financial regulations in the country. Keng added that regulations take time to adapt, and scrutinizing fintech firms seem to be the latest interest of the Chinese lawmakers.

Sahana Kiran: Experienced Journalist with a demonstrated history of working in the online media industry. Skilled in Photography, Feature Writing, Journalism, Online Journalism, and Web Content Writing. Strong media and communication professional with a Bachelor of Arts - BA focused in Journalism