Ant Financial Services, the Alibaba Group Holding affiliate that runs Alipay, has denied that it used intellectual property from US consumer credit rating agency Equifax to develop its Sesame Credit rating system, according to a statement released by the company on Thursday in response to a Wall Street Journal report.
Equifax suspected former employee Daniel Zou, who left the US firm to join Ant Financial in China, of taking proprietary data from Equifax to his new employer, according to The Wall Street Journal article published on recently, which cited people familiar with the matter. Zou had joined Ant Financial several months after the Hangzhou-based company launched its Sesame Credit third-party rating service, which assigns a score to users of online payments platform Alipay.
“We did not directly or indirectly encourage potential job applicants to obtain Equifax intellectual property or trade secrets,” said Chen Leiming, Ant Financial’s general counsel, in a statement. “This would be a violation of Ant Financial’s Code of Business Conduct and we would take immediate action against any employee found engaging in this behaviour.”