China’s Top Banking Regulator Reiterates Commitment to Anti-Trust Enforcement

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The senior-most official in China’s banking regulatory system has reiterated its commitment to the enforcement of anti-trust and anti-monopoly policies in the financial sector.

Guo Shuqing (郭树清), head of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) and party secretary of the Chinese central bank, said that China would continue to ‘firmly oppose monopoly and inappropriate competitive conduct.”

Guo made the remarks on 18 January at the 14th Asia Financial Forum held in Hong Kong.

The remarks from Guo follow the launch of an anti-trust investigation by Beijing into Jack Ma’s e-commerce giant Alibaba at the end of December, as well as the reining in of business activities by its affiliated fintech platform Ant Group.

On 10 November China unveiled the draft version of a new anti-monopoly law that targets the immense economic power of the country’s incumbent tech giants.

The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) said the the law was for the purpose of “preventing and restraining monopolistic conduct in the platform economies sphere, and strengthening and improving anti-monopolistic regulation of platform economies.”

Shortly afterwards on 15 November Xiao Yuanqi (肖远企), CBIRC’s chief risk officer, said that financial innovations will not be allowed to “lead to the formation of oligopolies, obtain excessive returns, or harm the interests of the public.”

“We must encourage financial innovations that can maintain fair competition,” said Xiao. “Financial innovations cannot erect or solidify barriers to entry to the sector, obstruct market participation groups or reduce market activity.”

In December Guo warned of new forms of “too big to fail” risk in the fintech sector, pointing in particular to “a small number of tech companies who occupy a dominant position on the small-sum payments market, affect the interests of a large section of the population and possess key financial infrastructure.”

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