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Didi’s shares drop as more penalties loom

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Chinese ride-hailing titan Didi plunged by more than 11 percent in New York shares on Thursday, following whispers of impending new penalties by Beijing on the company.

The ride-hailing giant is once more exposed to further pressure from the Chinese government leading to harmful impact on its revenues after trustbusters ordered it to be removed from local app stores.

In the U.S., Didi raised $4.4 billion in its stock market debut by the end of June. Two days later, China’s internet regulator launched a security investigation addressing the company’s methods of collecting data resulting in a 11.3 percent tumble in its listed shares.

The Chinese ride-hailing giant witnessed a 25 percent decline since its market debut on June 30 when it initially started trading at $14 a share. Didi’s shares fell more than 10 percent, bringing its month-to-date losses to 27 percent.

Last week, officials from seven Chinese government departments visited the company’s offices to conduct a cybersecurity review forcing it to stop signing up new customers, while the company was forced to reconstruct information about its users.

This came just days after the tech giant started selling shares in the New York Stock Exchange for $10.20 per shares, with a 11.3 percent decline as of date of writing.

As it is forceable, this move will only increase the pressure on the company and its investors as it will result in selling some of its shares to some of China’s Big Tech companies, such as Tencent, Alibaba, and JD.

As a result of their security review, regulators will suspend several of Didi’s operations and implement a state-owned investor in the company. This will most likely lead to a pressed delisting of some of the company’s biggest names.

The imposed penalties will most likely include fines, suspending some operations or government investment in the company which most likely force it to remove some of its shares from the U.S. stock market, according to a Bloomberg report.

But while Beijing is putting in its best effort to tame China’s Big Tech firms, restrictions on Didi are not the country’s first attempt to tighten its control over the tech industry.

Back in April, Alibaba group – the world’s largest e-commerce platform – was fined a whopping $2.8 billion for anti-competitive tactics, after the official investigation discovered foul play in the company’s platform’s market position.

For Didi, chances are the punishment imposed on it will be much more serious than the fine executed on the Chinese e-commerce giant.

China’s tech giants are falling under harsh scrutiny from the country’s officials as 12 other companies were fined over monopolizing deals following the President Xi Jinping’s reinforcement on regulators to step up their surveillance on monopolies.   

The list consisted of some of the biggest names, including Baidu, SoftBank, ByteDance, and even Didi.  

Escalations will keep on mounting between Beijing and its Big Tech firms, especially as China is constantly searching for new ways to execute its authority through regulations in various aspects of the tech ecosystem.

Daryn is a technical writer with thorough history and experience in both academic and digital writing fields.

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Mastercard, DTA partner up to release digital ID service In Australia

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Multinational credit card company Mastercard announced on Monday a new collaboration with the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) as it implements plans to create digital identities and age verification system, a move that will manifest the company as a leading digital identity service provider in Australia.

The Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF) will be a unison maneuver that will put both Mastercard and the DTA under one umbrella. Both entities will investigate a chain of private sector-led pilots alongside the effects digital verification services could impose on the retailer and consumer comprehension and anticipations from online experiences.

Last year, a parliamentary committee introduced a recommendation inquiry setting the first step towards a safer online environment, aiming to prevent minors from accessing online pornography sites. This had a direct affiliation to the DTA’s objectives of becoming the country’s first federal government agency to obtain an online age verification system.

“Australians are increasingly expecting no disruptions between their online and physical lives, and identity is an area that must keep pace with those expectations,” Australia Mastercard President Richard Wormald said in a statement.

“Public-private pilots have the potential to make it easier to use these verified identities security, everywhere they travel,” Wormald added.

The framework’s initial announcement was revealed in December of last year, with three parties initiating the first steps to launch two trials.

The first trial mainly focused on the identity verification process of students’ registration and digital exams at a university campus, while the second trial conducted united Mastercard’s digital ID solution with an already existing verification process in collaboration with the postal services.

Through TDIF, users will have unlimited capacity to gain entry to any government services and benefit by adopting a reusable digital identity approach without the need to show official documentation every time.

In addition, the framework’s influence will reach third-party providers to obtain access to the system as well.

Even though the DTA is hastily working on the implementation plans for TDIF, digital privacy experts are warning of a hazardous downfall that could follow the trusted framework. Analysts warn Australian authorities from deeply indulging in a system that has not been supervised by tech experts and the community.

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China’s Ant Group to share credit data with central bank

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China's Ant Group to share credit data with central bank

China’s central bank will soon have access to the private credit information of hundreds of millions of users of Ant Group’s online credit service, in a move signaling more regulatory oversight of the financial technology sector.

Huabei, Ant Group’s credit service, said in a statement that consumer credit data it has collected will be included in the People’s Bank of China’s financial credit information database.

“The inclusion of Huabei’s credit information into the credit reporting system will help users’ credit information be more comprehensive,” Huabei said.

Consumers who do not authorize the sharing of credit data with the central bank will not be able to use Huabei’s service.

The company did not give a timeline for when it would provide all of its customer credit data to the central bank.

The move is part of various stricter regulations for Ant, which has been ordered to end its monopoly on information and behave more like a bank.

Ant Group, the financial affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba, operates many digital payments, investment and insurance services and has over a billion users worldwide. In China, about 500 million people use its online credit and consumer loans services.

Financial regulators have grown increasingly concerned at Ant’s financial services business, abruptly halting its planned $34.5 billion listing days before its stock debut.

Previously, Ant Group’s private credit-scoring system would assess a user’s creditworthiness. Those deemed trustworthy enough could use Ant’s credit and loans services including Huabei, which was popular among consumers as it gave them access to online credit in a country where it is difficult to get a credit card.

Ant Group would connect creditworthy users with banks that provided the credit, while taking a cut of the fees in the process. Banks were thus left to shoulder most of the credit risk.

Ant’s trove of customer data has long been seen as an important advantage for the company, allowing it to design financial products to suit its users.

Regulators have accused the firm of anti-competitive behavior, defying regulatory compliance requirements and engaging in regulatory arbitrage. Ant Group was ordered to hold minimum capital requirements as part of risk management measures.

According to Huabei’s statement, data such as a user’s credit lines, amount of credit used, repayment statuses and account creation dates will be shared with the central bank, while information such as individual purchases and transactions will remain private.

Huabei said it would strictly follow the regulatory requirements.

“The credit reporting system is the foundation of the country’s financial sector. As society progresses and improves, more and more users will come into contact and better understand credit reporting,” it said.


BEIJING (AP)

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Beijing’s aim to divide AliPay rocks Chinese tech stocks

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Amidst Beijing’s latest regulatory wave to impose dominion on its tech sector, China’s Big Tech shares drastically dropped on Monday as the country’s watchdogs intend to break down Ant Group Co.’s Alipay, at a speed the U.S. and the European Union cannot fathom or dare to indulge in. 

Following a Financial Times report stating that Beijing is planning on breaking up Ant Group’s Alipay and forcefully create independent loans apps, Alibaba shares plunged by 4.23 percent in New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) with a share valuation closing at $165.41, as of the time of writing, according to Nasdaq.

Alibaba’s drop in shares trickled down to a multitude of other Chinese tech stocks, with Tencent shares slipping by 2.45 percent clocking in a price of $61.43 per share, while Meituan shares plunged by 4.47 percent and closed its trading day with $63.75 per share as of the time of writing, according to Yahoo Finance. 

Hang Seng Tech index shares fell by 2.27 percent, following a 22 percent drop in valuation so far, with 11 percent recovered from an August low. 

Hang Seng represents 30 of the biggest technology hubs listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSE) with augmented business exposure to technological essence. 

Other Chinese tech firms have been severely affected by the regulatory decision.

On Monday, the country’s industry and Information Technology Minister Xiao Yaqing announced that China is experiencing an overload of electric vehicle (EV) companies emphasizing the importance of establishing a union to enhance its charging network and providing EV sales in rural markets. 

Following Yaqing’s statement, BYD Co. Ltd shares dropped by 2.14 percent at the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SSE) and currently stands at $41.78 per share, while Xpeng Inc. shares plunged by 2.35 percent in the HKSE and closed at $32.90 per share as of the time of writing, according to Yahoo Finance.

Late Friday, the government released a statement identifying that majority of China’s tech firms have failed to comply with the state’s regulatory legislation by not ensuring appropriate working conditions and rights in income and labor safety to their gig economy workers. 

The statement was a follow-up to a meeting conducted between four governmental agencies alongside ten major platform companies, including shopping platform Meituan, e-commerce giant Alibaba, and multinational technology conglomerate Tencent Holdings Ltd., partially state-owned internet tech company ByteDance, Baidu Inc., and smartphone vendors Xiaomi and Huawei.

“We firmly support the decision of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and we will implement it in stages,” said Tencent. 

As for the e-commerce titan, Alibaba demonstrated intentions of showing utter compliance with the ministry’s demands. 

On a separate note, China is setting an adamant goal of detaching and dividing online payment platform Alipay to release individualistic apps for loan business. As for the implementation of the authority’s scheme, regulators have already set into motion the leading steps to divide the backend of its main entity from the remainder of its financial offering and introduce foreign shareholders. 

“I believe the market is still finding the bottom valuation of Chinese internet stocks,” Asia’s chief investment officer for Private Banking and Wealth Management at HSBC Holdings Plc, stated Fan Cheuk Wan said on Bloomberg TV.

China’s watchdogs have already demanded that Ant. Group must divide its two leading divisions Huabei and Jeibei, as the government is seeking to give these businesses their private platforms. 

The governmental plan also seeks to reinforce its loan decision to change Ant’s financial divisions to its latest, partly state-owned, disjointed credit scoring joint venture by forcing Alibaba’s financial affiliate company to relinquish its user data.

“The government believes that Big Tech’s monopoly comes from managing data. I want to end it,” said a source close to Beijing’s financial regulators.

Beijing’s complicated ripple of regulations and tactics to divide its tech firms to further establish its supremacy on its tech hubs seems to be overwhelming the sector’s lead players. These tactics could immensely affect the dynamic between the miscellany of the state’s tech companies while the government expands its reign on the tech sector. compendium

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