U.S. explores restrictions on Ant Group, Tencent payment systems

A sign for digital payment service Ant Financial's Alipay, an Alibaba affiliate, in front of a payment terminal of a store in Hong Kong. Foto: Bloomberg/Lam Yik

The Trump administration is exploring restrictions on billionaire Jack Ma's Ant Group as well as Tencent Holdings over concerns that their digital payment platforms threaten U.S. national security, according to people familiar with the matter, a move that risks infuriating China and disrupting what could be the world's largest initial public offering.

Debate over how and whether to restrict Ant Group's and Tencent's payment systems has accelerated among senior U.S. officials in recent weeks though a final decision isn't imminent, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity about an idea that's still taking shape...

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