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China’s Central Bank Governor: Large Fintech Firms May Lead to Market Monopoly

Yi Gang, the Governor of China’s central bank, recently pointed out that the “winner-take-all” attribute of large fintech firms could lead to market monopoly. Yi noted that there are more than 4,000 small and medium-sized banks in China. He expressed concern about the banks increased reliance on large technology companies.

As China recently took a heavy-handed approach toward fintech giants such as Alibaba and Tencent, the website of the People’s Bank of China released Yi’s speech on September 14th at a Sino-German video conference on financial technology .

Yi noted that China’s rapid development in fintech has also highlighted a number of problems. These include the payment institutions entering into the financial sector and offering a variety of financial products such as insurance and microfinance. They thereby add to the chances of cross-product and cross-market contagion of financial risks.

Yi said Chinese regulatory authorities will bring all financial activities under financial supervision and make sure that financial businesses must be licensed. China also requires that payment methods be divorced from other financial products. In addition, Yi vowed to strengthen anti-monopoly efforts and promote large Internet companies to protect consumers’ choice of payment methods.

Yi also noted that the development of fintech will have an impact on the traditional banking industry. “Small and medium-sized banks are facing greater challenges. With limited resources of their own, small and medium-sized banks can only rely on the technology and platforms provided by large IT companies for customer maintenance, credit analysis and risk control.”

Source: People’s Bank of China, September 18, 2021