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China's digital yuan threatens sprawling Alibaba empire

Official currency could hobble growth by crippling payments operation

TOKYO -- The Chinese government has begun to move to prevent the business expansion of Alibaba Group and Tencent despite having once protected the country's two leading information technology companies.

The move comes as the two IT giants have spread their wings to the financial sector and started threatening the country's existing financial system. But the Chinese government cannot impose blanket regulations on them because of their strong influence.

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