Caixin
Sep 02, 2021 08:31 PM
BUSINESS

ByteDance to Scale Back Fintech Business Amid Regulatory Headwinds

What’s new: ByteDance Inc., operator of short-video apps TikTok and Douyin, said it would sell its securities brokerage business as it pulls back from financial services.

A ByteDance spokesperson confirmed the move to Caixin on Thursday. The Beijing-based company, which recorded a 111% surge in its 2020 revenue to 236.6 billion yuan ($36.9 billion), operates the platform Songshu Zhengquan (松鼠证券), which translates as “squirrel securities.”

The firm filed to trademark the name in Hong Kong in December 2019. Songshu Zhengquan provides financial information services, stock trading and brokerage services, according to an entry on the city’s intellectual property database.

On the Chinese mainland, ByteDance operates Haitun Gupiao (海豚股票) , which translates as “dolphin stocks,” providing stock market information and allowing users to open stock trading accounts and access trading services through links provided by securities companies within the app.

The background: ByteDance’s partial retreat from its financial services business comes amid a regulatory tightening in the country's fintech sector over issues such as unfair competition practices in online payment businesses and abuse of market dominance.

The company debuted its own digital payment platform Douyin Pay in January, allowing users to purchase items from third-party vendors, buy virtual gifts for performers, as well as buy goods during livestreamed e-commerce sessions.

It is also seeking new revenue streams amid the crackdown, this week confirming its acquisition of China’s largest virtual reality (VR) headset maker Pico Interactive Inc. to focus on developing consumer-facing VR devices for the Chinese market.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use.

Contact reporter Kelsey Cheng (kelseycheng@caixin.com) and editor Flynn Murphy (flynnmurphy@caixin.com)

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