Alibaba’s Ant Group has got the much required approval from Chinese regulators to operate a new consumer finance company. The approval is an important step to restructure the business in line with regulations. A new licenced unit, Chongqing Ant Consumer Finance will be authorised to issue consumer loans, borrow from banks and issue bonds, according to China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC). Ant Group had come under the regulatory scanner last year after it was revealed through a prospectus for the issue of Ant’s $37bn IPO that it had issued almost one-tenth of China’s non-mortgage consumer loans through its Alipay app. The news resulted in a clamp down on the group by Chinese regulators and the suspension of its IPO. Subsequently, the group had been ordered by the People’s Bank of China to establish a financial holding company that is regulated on the lines of banks. Kevin Kwek, managing director and senior analyst at Bernstein, told CNBC, “It is a positive sign for Ant as it means regulators are still supportive of Ant being in the lending business – except that it is now able to regulate them.” and added that “The other positive is that it indicates progress for Ant in restructuring their business to regulators’ requirements.”

Alibaba’s 3.6% 2024s and 4% 2037s were down 0.19 and 0.46 to trade at.108.5 and 108.96 respectively while its 4.2% 2047s were up 0.21 to trade at 111.46.
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