China orders Alibaba affiliate Ant to become financial holding firm

China’s central bank on Monday ordered the country’s financial technology firm Ant Group, an affiliate of IT giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., to become a financial holding company to overhaul its business operations. The move comes days after China’s market regulator fined Alibaba a record 18.2 billion yuan ($2.78 billion) for anti-monopoly violations, as President Xi Jinping has pledged to curb monopolistic behavior and disorderly capital expansion of major IT firms. Last year, the People’s Bank of China issued a business improvement order against Ant, which runs one of the nation’s most pop…

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