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Jack Ma’s Booming Loan Business Threatens Visa, AmEx in China

Jan. 21, 2020, 4:00 PM

As Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc. and American Express Co. prepare to enter China for the first time, one of their biggest competitive threats will come from a company that doesn’t issue credit cards.

Jack Ma’s Ant Financial, already the biggest player in China’s $27 trillion payments market, is leveraging its ubiquitous Alipay mobile app to mount a rapid expansion into consumer lending.

Instead of issuing cards, Ant allows customers to borrow with a few taps on their smartphones. The loans are wildly popular among China’s army of mobile-savvy shoppers, who often lack formal credit histories but generate ...

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