(Yicai Global) May 2 -- Ant Financial Services Group has sold all its shares in embattled online micro-loan provider Qudian.
This development comes after Ant Financial Services, which is the payment arm of Hangzhou-based tech titan Alibaba Group Holding, did not renew its cooperative arrangement with the firm when it lapsed in August.
Reports of the suicides of many college students unable to repay their loans to peer-to-peer lenders prompted Beijing to crack down on the P2P sector, and this dinted Qudian's operations and chilled its cooperation with the Alibaba unit.
Ant Financial now holds no shares in Xiamen, Fujian province-based Qudian [NYSE:QD], information the US Securities and Exchange Commission released on April 30 shows, state media The Paper reported that same day.
This is a normal business decision, Ant Financial said, adding that it will continue to cooperate with the firm, per the report.
Ant Financial spent USD54.7 million to take a 12.8 percent stake in the company in August 2015, according to Qudian's prospectus. Ant Financial also agreed to provide it with a portal on its Alipay platform.
The platform then switched from consumer finance to auto retail and moved its headquarters from Beijing to the southern Chinese city it now calls home.
Editor: Ben Armour