Regulators say Ant Group must stick to payments; U.K. ad watchdog criticizes Klarna Instagram posts

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U-Turn

Ant Group’s proposed IPO is off the table after Chinese regulators ordered Jack Ma’s financial powerhouse to curb its financial services expansion and refocus on its core payments business, which includes Alipay.

Representatives from the People’s Bank of China over the weekend told Ant executives to overhaul the company, which had branched into consumer lending and wealth management, according to Bloomberg.

The move comes a month after the Chinese government postponed Ant Group’s IPO, citing changes in fintech regulations. Investors expected Ant's IPO on the Shanghai stock exchange to raise about $34 billion.

Social studies

The U.K.’s advertising industry watchdog banned a series of Instagram posts Klarna sponsored because the ads allegedly promoted irresponsible spending via installment loans.

The Advertising Standards Authority, which ensures its members observe national advertising codes, issued its verdict this month about posts by four different “influencers” suggesting that using Klarna’s services to buy apparel and skincare products could be a “mood booster” during the pandemic.

In an investigation, Klarna said it believed the ads complied with U.K. advertising rules and didn’t explicitly infer that using Klarna lightened one’s mood. The ASA decided Klarna linked buying beauty or clothing products via installment loans with enhancing consumers’ moods during an uncertain period when many people are facing financial concerns and mental health problems.

Cash window

Microsoft’s unbanked and underbanked customers in Europe can make online purchases with cash through a partnership with London-based Paysafe Group, which has relationships with 650,000 retail outlets in 50 countries.

Consumers may use the paysafecard to make cash purchases for online goods sold through the Microsoft Store by loading cash to paysafecard accounts in 22 countries across Europe, according to a press release.

Paysafecard customers who establish an online account have the option to combine credit balances for ongoing web shopping. Paysafe plans to add more countries to the Microsoft Store program next year, when it will extend the payment option to include purchases on the Xbox game console.

Rerouted

The fate of American Express’ cobranded credit card program with Jet Airways, India’s second-largest airline which discontinued operations last year, is becoming clear. The Jet Airways American Express Platinum credit card will be discontinued in early 2021, and cardholders will receive a Amex Platinum credit card minus any cobrand.

Platinum-status cardholders will receive the card free of charge. Customers of the defunct airline who typically paid an annual fee, will have the option to get an Amex Platinum card at a reduced fee, according to frequent-flyer blog Live from a Lounge.

Mumbai-based Jet Airways, a discount airline launched in 1993, closed its doors in July 2019 after failing to raise interim emergency funding following a period of rocky cash flow.

From the web

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China Envisions Its Digital-Currency Future, With Lotteries and a Year’s Worth of Laundry
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