China's Antitrust Agency Urged By the PBOC to Probe Alipay and WeChat Pay
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has urged the country’s top antitrust agency, the State Council Information Office of China to probe the market dominance of Alipay and WeChat Pay in the payment service sector.
The two payment giants have the majority share of China's cashless payment scene as reported by Reuters. The Chinese mobile banking sector recorded about 56.2 trillion yuan ($8 trillion) in the third quarter of 2019, and of these, Alipay dominated by 55% while WeChat Pay commanded 39%.
Recognizing the economic impact of monopoly, the People’s Bank of China while fast-tracking the development of its digital Yuan wants a level playing field for all stakeholders. Despite the large market share it commands, Alipay is anti-Bitcoin as it banned all BTC related transactions back in October 2019.
Similarities to US Tech Firm’s Antitrust Hearing
The call by the PBOC on the country’s antitrust agency bears similarities to the antitrust hearing the Big 4 Tech firm of the United States had with the House’s Antitrust Subcommittee. The grilling session which took place virtually saw the lawmakers accuse the companies including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google of using anti-competitive practices to squash other smaller competing firms.
While sources close to the matter said that the State Council Information Office of China has been gathering information on Alipay and Tencent for about a month, it has not yet decided to launch any formal probe despite taking the PBOC recommendations very seriously.
The firms, both those in the United States and China alike are high tech-driven and all have products and services highly in demand during the coronavirus induced global pandemic. With China’s plan to dominate the world’s tech standard, a potential move to limit the dominance of Alibaba Group Holdings Alipay and Tencent Holdings WeChat will help level the playing field as worthy of a foremost global tech leader