22:19 GMT03 March 2021
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    The move comes after the Chinese government had begun cracking down on mainland tech firms, namely after the Ant Group's $37 bln initial public offering in November last year, citing concerns over comments from the fintech firm's founder and chairman at an event.

    Alipay's Ant Group has been restructured as a financial holding company under China's state bank, the People's Bank of China (PBoC), the Wall Street Journal wrote on Wednesday.

    Chinese regulators have reportedly told the fintech firm to restructure to abide by tougher capital requirements, subjecting the company to similar regulatory standards as banks, the report read.

    The restructuring plan is still in talks and could be finalised ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year in February, the WSJ said, citing people familiar with the matter.

    The Financial Stability and Development Committee will need to approve the final plans, the sources added. The Ant Group, PBoC, State Council Information Office and China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission have not commented.

    The news comes after dual listings on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges were quickly halted in November of last year following criticisms from company founder Jack Ma in October over alleged excessive bureaucracy in China.

    Authorities visited Ma ahead of the IPO listing and the Shanghai Stock Exchange, who later announced the company would "fail to meet" issuance and listing conditions. Refunds on over $2.8 trillion in IPO investments were later issued, according to reports.

    Further headaches come after parent company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and a division of Tencent Holdings Ltd were slapped with a 500,000 yuan ($76,500) fine for failing to seek approval for acquisitions in a proposed merger.

    Related:

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    Ant Group to Refund Investors $2.8tn After $37bn IPO Halted Over Jack Ma 'Regulatory' Criticisms Row
    Tencent Profits Skyrocket 89 Percent YoY Amid COVID-19, Vows to Work With Chinese State Regulators
    Chinese State Regulators Hit Alibaba, Tencent With Fresh Fines Under New Anti-Competitive Measures
    Tags:
    Initial Public Offering (IPO), regulation, Jack Ma, Alibaba Group, Ant Group, China
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