The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), China’s central bank, on Friday announced a fine of 7.12 billion yuan ($984 million) for Ant Group.
PBOC, which has been driving the regulatory revamp at Ant after its $37 billion IPO was scuttled in late 2020, announced the penalty in a statement published on its website.
Ant’s fine is the largest penalty for an internet company in China. Authorities believe that Ant has violated laws concerning consumer protection and corporate governance. The penalty ends a years-long regulatory overhaul of the fintech company.
China’s cybersecurity regulator last year fined $1.2 billion on ride-hailing major Didi Global.
Alibaba was fined a record 18 billion yuan in 2021 for antitrust violations.
Ant’s penalty follows the return to China of Ma earlier this year after spending many months overseas. Ma, who also founded Alibaba, withdrew from public view in late 2020 after giving a speech criticising China’s regulatory system, an event widely regarded as a trigger for the crackdown on industry.