China's banks have lost significant market share to fintech companies like Ant Finance and Tencent, especially in the mobile payment space, which the fintech companies have used as a basis to move into other market segments such as online lending. Banks have been distanced from consumers and there are concerns that people do not need banks any more. Are things really that bad?
On Feburary 22nd, the Credit Union, also known by its official name “Baihang Credit”, has finally received its business license from the government which is also the first individual credit checking license.
In 2017, the Chinese smartphone market saw its first ever decline, with -4% YoY growth in smartphone shipments and -4.9% YoY growth in smartphone sales.
On February 1st, Alibaba and Ant Finance jointly announced that, according to their strategic agreement signed in 2014, Alibaba will acquire 33% of Ant Finance’s shares through one of Alibaba’s subsidiaries.
China is on the verge of creating another uninviting barrier for the cryptocurrency market, however nothing has been set in stone yet. Xinhua, one of the main news outlets in China, released another elusive yet pressing statement on February 5, 2018 laying out some of the government's plans to further hinder Chinese citizens from accessing international cryptocurrency exchanges and ICOs.
China's recent outbound M&A has been suffering with more and more acquisitions failing due to national security concerns, Ant Financial's missed acquisition of MoneyGram being the latest. Why does national security factor into these decisions and why will it remain a crucial consideration in the future?
In China, bar code payments (including QR codes) dominate the mobile payment market. Using a bar code to pay is easy, but comes with risks. In 2017, about RMB 90 million ($14 million) was stolen due to fraud. On December 25th, 2017, the People’s Bank of China (the PBOC) released new regulation to standardize bar code payments. The regulation will come into effect from April 1st, 2018.
The recent hype around Bitcoin continues to bring uncertainty to the financial stability of countries. Whilst some countries are accepting Bitcoin others are rejecting it and the threats that they perceive it holds.
China has long seemingly been opposed to all things crypto, having previously banned ICO’s and virtual currency trading. However, in the latest development of China’s war on crypto, it is now reportedly set to shut the Bitcoin mining industry.