China Central Bank Fines Ant Financial’s Alipay For Misleading Ads, Poor Data Protection


Alibaba’s third-party mobile payment platform Alipay has been fined RMB180,000 (US$28,535) for inadequate customer rights protection, publishing misleading advertising and improper data protection, according to an administrative penalty notice from People’s Bank of China, Hangzhou branch.

As China has increased its efforts to control financial risk, the central bank has strengthen oversight of online financial activities, especially by non-financial institutions.

In this case, the bank said Alipay did not assure consumers have sufficient information to understand and choose their products. Alipay also included misleading information in its video advertisements and official Weibo account, and allegedly faked the ratio of complaints that they received. The firm also did not comply with relevant rules on collecting and using user’s financial data, the bank said.

In a statement sent to China Money Network, Alipay said that the banks had identified the issues during an inspection in the second half of 2017, and that Alipay had taken corrective measures.

"The relevant measures have already been implemented and acknowledged by the regulators," said Alipay. "We appreciate the guidance and support of the regulators, and will continue to stringently abide by the relevant regulations."

This is not the first time Alipay, along with other Chinese digital payment platforms, has faced central bank reprimand. Last May, Alipay and Tencent’s Tenpay were fined for failing to meet user identity verification standards in account registration.

And this January, the Cyberspace Administration of China reprimanded Ant Financial over a default setting on its Alipay mobile payment platform that gave corporate partners access to user credit data.

China’s central bank has strengthen oversight of online financial activities in a bid to reduce overall financial risk. Last August, the central bank required all third-party payment institutions to channel transactions via a newly established central clearing platform.

As of last December, Alipay’s Yu’e Bao has grown to become the world’s largest money market fund with RMB1.56 trillion (US$233 billion) in assets under management.

 

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