Tencent Holdings’ Tenpay flouts rules, imposes millions in fines again


People walk past the headquarters of Tencent Holdings in Shenzhen. Tencent is the parent company of operator WeChat Pay Tenpay. (Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP)

Tencent Holdings’ fintech arm, Tenpay, was fined a hefty 2.8 million yuan (US $ 434,792) last week, according to a statement released by the branch of the State Foreign Exchange Administration ( SAFE) in Shenzhen.

According to SAFE, Tenpay failed to submit the relevant documents and failed to manage the currency sales services in accordance with the regulations.

The company has also been accused of conducting foreign exchange business beyond its scope of registration.

The Shenzhen SAFE branch had recently launched another round of sanctions against banks and brokerage firms breaking forex trading rules, Tenpay being one of them.

Also known as Caitufong, the lesser-known fintech service Tenpay operates the globally popular digital payment platform WeChat Pay.

This is not the first time Caitufong has had trouble with the Chinese authorities, however. Since obtaining payment licenses in 2011 from the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, Tenpay has been fined several times.

In late 2020, the central bank fined Tenpay 8.7 million yuan (US $ 1.36 million) for several offenses, including offering payment services for illegal transactions.

“The company has developed an improvement plan and the necessary adjustments have been made,” Tenpay said in a statement Sunday. “We will further strengthen compliance management under the leadership of SAFE’s Shenzhen branch in the future. “

This fine comes in the middle of a flurry of even more crackdown on Big Tech. Just last week, Beijing mandated these giants obtain state approval for new applications.

Earlier this month, companies like Alibaba and Baidu, as well as Tencent, were fined for failing to disclose deals made years before, in addition to monopoly practices and questionable data privacy practices.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) will “deepen” its antitrust investigations into the country’s mobile payments industry, which has been dominated by a few private fintech companies, Vice Governor Fan Yifei said in September.

Together with Ant Group’s Alipay, the two control 93% of the Chinese mobile payments market – Alipay 54% and WeChat Pay 39%.

Mobile payments are fueling the flourishing digital economy in China, the duopoly having processed more than 5.4 trillion US dollars in 2020 alone, according to SCMP.


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