May 27, 2011 05:37 PM

Alipay Awarded Third-Party Payment License

(Beijing) -- The People's Bank of China (PBOC) on May 26 released the first batch of licenses for third-party payment services to 27 operators, including Alipay, previously wholly-owned by the country's largest e-commerce provider Alibaba Group.

The PBOC, China's central bank, issued licensing regulations last June for third-party payment providers. It also issued separate guidelines for foreign-funded payment institutions.

Alipay, which accounts for half of China's non-bank online payment market, was restructured as a domestic company controlled by Alibaba CEO Jack Ma last August to facilitate regulatory approval for the license.

Yahoo, which holds a 39 percent stake in Alibaba, said in an exchange filing earlier this month that it was not told of the Alipay ownership transfer until this March, and the deal was not approved by the board of Alibaba.

Yahoos' statement triggered concerns among its investors over the loss of a core asset in China.

Yahoo Chief Executive Carol Bartz said in an investor meeting on May 25 that Yahoo has made significant progress in resolving the Alipay dispute and Yahoo will receive adequate "compensation" for Alipay.

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