Ant Financial Takes Step Toward Getting Into Credit Ratings
Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., has taken a step forward in the credit ratings industry, as its credit ratings arm has completed registration with a local branch of the central bank.
The People’s Bank of China’s Hangzhou branch announced (link in Chinese) on Monday that Ant Credit Rating Co. Ltd., an Ant Financial subsidiary set up in March, had completed registration under new regulations that took effect in December.
The central bank’s Hangzhou branch noted in the announcement that the completion of registration should not be considered an endorsement of Ant Credit Rating’s ratings quality, technical methods, risk management or compliance.
Ant Credit Rating’s exact business scope remains unclear.
The registration highlights Ant Financial’s ambition to expand its credit business. The financial conglomerate’s existing credit business mostly centers around Zhima Credit, its internal personal credit-scoring platform, but concerns have emerged over its outlook after China in 2018 unveiled Baihang Credit Scoring, a central bank-backed credit agency that provides personal credit scores to traditional financial institutions and internet finance companies. Zhima Credit and Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s Tencent Credit both hold minority stakes in the company.
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