Business / Markets

Private lenders will test the waters of financial reform

By He Wei (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-12 07:21

Tencent's interest in private banking may tie into its Tenpay online payment system, which allows digital transactions for its popular mobile chat app WeChat.

Competitor Alibaba, which runs the country's largest e-commerce site, applied for a license via its affiliated Small and Micro Financial Services Group, which includes online payment unit Alipay and its shareholding in Alibaba's Zhongan Insurance and Tianhong Asset Management Co.

"We joined with China Wanxiang Holding Co Ltd to make the application. We are making preparations and have no further information to share at this stage," the company replied in response to a query from China Daily.

Private lenders will test the waters of financial reform

Private lenders will test the waters of financial reform

Wanxiang belongs to China's biggest vehicle parts manufacturer, the Wanxiang Group. Alibaba and Wanxiang are both based in Hangzhou.

The Internet may topple businesses that naturally include finance, said Robin Li, chief executive officer of search engine Baidu Inc.

Baidu also applied for a license, but it didn't make the cut this time.

"What Baidu does at the moment is market financial products. This is just a more convenient way of selling currently available financial products to an audience," Li, who is a political adviser, told reporters onthe sidelines of the ongoing sessions of the top legislators and political advisers in Beijing.

Premier Li Keqiang expressed government support for online finance during his opening remarks at the congress and vowed to improve the mechanism for coordinating financial oversight.

Wang Junjin, chairman of the Shanghai-based Juneyao Group, also confirmed that his company had submitted an application to form a private bank. Juneyao's businesses include food, high technology and aviation.

You Xiaoping, chairman of chemical materials provider Huafeng Group, said that in its submitted plan for a license, Nan Cunhui, chairman of Chint Group Corp (which makes electrical and energy equipment), is the main sponsor with about a 20 percent share, while You and other local tycoons will take a smaller share.

"We want to play a role in China's financial reform and address the capital access problem for private firms. But what difference can we make? Now I'm not too optimistic, because the super-high profit era for banks is over. Banks now have to rely on careful management to profit," You said.

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