JD Finance service for students closes as China’s fintech industry continues to slide amid tighter regulations

The financial services arm of China’s second-largest e-commerce company, JD.com, will stop operating a student mode in its app next month, in the latest sign of a decline in China’s fintech industry amid tightening of regulations.

The youth version of JD Finance, operated by JD Technology, will go offline on March 22, according to a notice in the app. Existing users will be automatically switched to the standard version in the same application.

JD Technology launched the specialized mode in 2018 to target college students with specialized services such as lower interest rates and discounts on daily necessities. His disappearance is part of a “business adjustment”, according to the notice. JD.com declined to comment.

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JD.com’s fintech unit completes restructuring

The shutdown comes after more than a year of setbacks for the fintech industry in China, where regulators moved to reduce the reach and influence of tech companies. This is especially true when it comes to financial services, as regulators have raised concerns about risks to the banking system.

When JD Finance launched its student version, the Chinese fintech industry was booming. A turning point came at the end of 2020 when its rival group of ants, the operator of Alipay, was forced to stop its IPO. Since then, JD Finance has sought to keep a lower profile, changes its name to JD Technology from JD Digits in January last year and pulling a planned IPO in mainland China. He is now trying to list in hong kong.

JD Finance remains a consumer-oriented financial services brand owned by the e-commerce giant. It has launched nearly 10,000 financial products spanning personal wealth management, credit and insurance services, and has amassed around 420 million users, according to its website.

Last April, financial regulators summoned 13 fintech platform operators including Tencent Holdings, Baidu, ICT Tac owner ByteDance and JD Technology, ordering them to rectify online payment services, including taking steps to “disconnect payment tools and other financial products” and ensuring the “prudent development” of credit and insurance businesses.

JD.com fintech unit withdraws Shanghai IPO filing

In December, a recently published draft regulations of seven national regulators – including the People’s Bank of China and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology – have stipulated that non-bank payment institutions, referring to services such as Alipay and JDPay, cannot not promote financial services such as loans and asset management products as payment options to consumers.

Ant Group, the fintech subsidiary of the e-commerce giant Alibaba Holding Groupwho owns the South China Morning Posthad already announced that he shut down its Xianghubao self-help platform in January, after Baidu, Meituan and Tencent shut down similar online insurance platforms.

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