Stolen Apple identities used in heist
Hackers broke into the accounts of Alipay users and made off with an unknown amount of cash, according to Bloomberg. The hackers used stolen Apple identities to carry out the theft. Tencent (TCEHY) also reported theft of funds from its mobile payment app WePay, also called WeChat Pay, where stolen Apple identities were involved.
Alipay is a mobile payment service run by Alibaba (BABA) affiliate Ant Financial, which is also into lending and asset management. Ant Financial sought to acquire MoneyGram (MGI) for $1.2 billion to support its global expansion, but the US government refused to clear the deal on national security concerns. Alipay and WeChat Pay are the top mobile payment platforms in China, facilitating transactions worth about $12 trillion last year.
China’s crackdown on technology companies
But the theft of funds at Alipay comes at a sensitive time for Alibaba and Ant Financial. First, Alibaba is in the process of converting its profit share in Ant Financial to an equity stake in the business, suggesting it’s taking a long-term view on the business.
China has recently stepped up scrutiny of technology companies as part of measures to reduce risks in its financial sector and curb digital addiction among its younger citizens. Ant Financial has been caught up in China’s heightened scrutiny of technology companies, and its business has been hit with some restrictions. So the hacking of Alipay could attract even more scrutiny.