The decision by Chinese regulators to halt Chinese fintech giant Ant Group's planned record-breaking initial public offering in Shanghai and Hong Kong shocked investors and analysts and is seen as the first in a series of moves aimed to contain the previously unstoppable firm. For a firm once considered "too big to fail", Ant's dramatic reversal of fortunes has prompted much discussion about what China's antitrust actions mean for Ant, other Chinese tech giants, and the future of fintech in China. Our magazine recently asked, Is China right to tame Ant?, exploring the issues behind the Chinese regulatory action to tighten control on the company.
Ant aside, China is also focused on fostering domestic innovation and self-sufficiency as part of its 14th Five-Year Plan. What role will big tech be allowed to play in driving China's dual circulation strategy? And seeing the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) take action is itself noteworthy because it signals the regulatory body's maturation. SAMR was only established in March 2018 when China concentrated all antitrust regulation and enforcement into one agency. The challenge for China now, already a global frontrunner in fintech, is how to balance innovation and regulation.
Please join Don Weinland, The Economist's China business and finance editor, and Angela Zhang, an expert on Chinese antitrust enforcement and a law professor at The University of Hong Kong, for a virtual event to explore these themes.