PBoC halts Tencent, Alibaba virtual credit cards

The Tencent Holdings Ltd. building stands in the Nanshan district in Shenzhen, China.
Brent Lewin | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Tencent Holdings shares slid as much as 6.4 pct amid reports that China's central bank has called for a halt to online credit card use.

The report that the People's Bank of China (PBOC) had issued a statement telling China CITIC Bank, which operates virtual credit cards in cooperation with Tencent and ecommerce firm Alibaba Group, was first reported by 21st Century Business Herald.

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Alibaba and Tencent later confirmed to Reuters they had received the notice about the PBOC's plan. A PBOC spokesman said the bank was investigating the reports.

Alibaba announced the new virtual credit cards on Tuesday. The cards can be used to buy goods through its online payment affiliate Alipay, part of its push into offering financial services. Tencent followed with its own credit card announcement on Wednesday.