Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s (NYSE:BABA) Ant Financial has been hit with claims that it engaged in unseemly practices to snag data from a US-based credit giant. The Alibaba affiliate denies that it stole information from Equifax.
Techcrunch has the scoop on the situation at hand for Alibaba.
Ant Financial has denied claims that it covertly raided Equifax — the U.S. credit firm that was hit by a hack last year — to grab information, including code, confidential data and documents to help recruit staff for its own credit scoring service.
The Alibaba affiliate, which is valued at over $100 billion, launched Sesame Credit in China in 2015, and a report this week from The Wall Street Journal suggests that it leaned heavily on Equifax to do so. Ant Financial hired China-born Canadian David Zou from Equifax and the Journal claims that Zou looked up employee information to gauge potential hires and squirreled away confidential documents via his personal email account.
Zou has denied any involvement as well. Ant released a strong statement refuting the claims while also taking umbrage with the accusations themselves.
“The story not only promotes hostility against a specific company, but also paints an overall narrative that maligns Chinese companies as a whole, and further promotes culturally divisive perceptions of ethnic Chinese people in America,” the statement read in part.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd shares rose $1.38 (+0.83%) in premarket trading Friday. Year-to-date, BABA has declined -3.15%, versus a 10.06% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.