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BUSINESS & TECH

Quick Take: Central Bank Cashes Out Six More E-Payment Licenses

Photo: Visual China
Photo: Visual China

China’s central bank revoked six electronic payment licenses this week in an acceleration of an attempt to clean up a crowded field of licensees that now numbers over 200.

No explanation was given for the six licenses’ cancellations, all of which were dated May 15. The six names bring the total number of license revocations to 10, including one as early as August 2015 and two last year.

The central bank has issued dozens of licenses to electronic payment companies over the last five years, with 260 companies now officially permitted to offer such services, according to the central bank’s website. That move is part of Beijing’s opening of the financial services market to private investment in a bid to breathe more innovation into a sector previously dominated by big state-run institutions.

Most licensees to date remain very small niche players, in a market dominated by internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. and by Alipay, the main asset of Ant Financial Services Group.

The latest revocations are part of a broader clean-up of the sector, according to a report by Beijing Business Today.

It said that among the many license recipients over the last five years, 10 have been requested to merge with others. It added that among the 10 names whose licenses have been officially revoked, three belong to card-issuing companies that have closed, and one was for a company that requested to have its license canceled.

Contact reporter Yang Ge (geyang@caixin.com)

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