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Chinese regulators are considering launching an antitrust investigation into Ant Group’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat Pay, Reuters reported, citing unidentified sources.
The nation’s antitrust watchdog has been gathering information on China’s two dominant online payments services for at least a month on the instigation of the central bank, Reuters reported. An official inquiry would deal a serious blow to Ant’s impending Hong Kong and Shanghai initial public offerings, kick started just weeks ago and potentially the largest floats either city has seen in years.
Alipay and WeChat Pay account for the majority of the mobile payments transactions in China. Alipay’s share of mobile payments has increased for three consecutive quarters, rising to 55.1% in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to research consultant iResearch. Tencent has 38.9% of the market.
No decision on whether to proceed with an investigation has been made, according to Reuters.
A representative for Ant Group didn’t respond to mobile and text queries. A Tencent spokeswoman didn’t respond to requests for comment.