Meituan, Didi Chuxing, Cryptocurrency

Meituan, Didi Chuxing

China's crackdown on its biggest companies

China's crackdown on its biggest companies

29/7/2021 8:03:00 AM

China's crackdown on its biggest companies

BEIJING: With market-trembling new rules and investigations, Beijing's crackdown on its most prominent companies has seeped into nearly every ...

CRYPTOCURRENCYBeijing has also squeezed out of its market miners and traders of bitcoin and other digital currencies, arresting more than a thousand people for laundering money using cryptocurrencies in June.China banned crypto trading in 2019 and multiple provinces have ordered energy-intensive crypto-mining outfits to shut down in recent months, citing concerns about spiking power consumption.

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Analysts say China fears cryptocurrency transactions could aid illicit investment and threaten government controls on capital outflows.The crackdown also allows China room to introduce its own digital currency, which can be monitored by the central government.

ONLINE SHOPPINGfined a record 18.2 billion yuan (US$2.8 billion)by antitrust authorities in April, after the government said it had"abused its dominant position in the market" by forbidding merchants to advertise wares on rival sites.A planned US$35 billion listing by its fintech arm Ant Financial was scrapped by authorities late last year, with Ant ordered to jettison its financial services and return to its roots as an online payment platform.

ENTERTAINMENTSocial media and entertainment behemoth Tencent has come under increasing pressure. The state market regulator shot down plans for a merger between Huya and Douyu, China's two largest video game live-streaming sites that Tencent owns stakes in. The merger would have granted it majority control over the combined entity.

Tencent's entertainment empire faced a new setback on Saturday after the State Administration for Market Regulation ruled that the company must give up its exclusive rights deals with music labels after violating antitrust laws.Meanwhile, TikTok parent Bytedance, Tencent and dozens of other private companies were summoned by regulators in April and urged to"heed the warning" of Alibaba.

WHO'S NEXT?Online platforms with more than a million users have been ordered to submit to cybersecurity reviews before overseas IPOs.This could have a chilling effect on future listings by Chinese companies as they think twice about attracting Beijing's wrath.

That also sweeps in all manner of start-ups in China's vast consumer market.Bike-sharing platform Hello Inc said it would scrap a planned Nasdaq IPO in a regulatory filing on Wednesday, shortly after the popular Pinterest-like app Xiaohongshu put similar plans on hold.

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READ: China takes aim at pop-up windows in further tech clampdownStill, it appears officials have been spooked by the reaction to their latest moves. On Wednesday regulators called top bankers in for a last-minute meeting to soothe fears about the crackdown, according to Bloomberg News.

The move came after several local media outlets on Wednesday night republished commentary from the official Xinhua news agency that declared"the foundation for China's capital market development is still solid".Shares in badly hit tech and tuition firms rallied on Thursday, while Hong Kong and Chinese markets both surged after taking a beating at the start of the week.

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