SINGAPORE—In recent years, China’s technology giants have turned consumers’ embrace of mobile payment apps into lucrative ecosystems offering a range of financial services, from personal loans to insurance policies.
Now, Beijing wants to put a stop to that.
On Thursday, China’s central bank and four other regulatory agencies told some of the country’s biggest financial technology firms—including WeChat operator Tencent Holdings Ltd., ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing Technology Co. and e-commerce firm JD.com Inc. —that their apps should no longer provide financial services beyond payments, according to people familiar with the discussions.
During the nearly three-hour-long meeting at the People’s Bank of China’s Financial Market Department, regulators told company representatives that the bundling of several financial services within a single platform obscured how much money was flowing into the various products, creating risks for the broader financial system, these people said.
Regulators’ push to delink the technology companies’ broader suites of financial products and services from their core payments platforms, if carried out, would deal a blow to a lucrative business model pioneered most successfully by Ant Group Co., the financial-services giant controlled by billionaire entrepreneur Jack Ma.