Ant Financial’s Response to Wall Street Journal Article

2018-09-13
By Leiming Chen, General Counsel, Ant Financial

Today, the Wall Street Journal published a story that contains false information about Ant Financial based on unsubstantiated allegations from anonymous sources. The story is full of innuendo based on disjointed facts and coincidence in timing. We want to set the record straight.

Ant Financial did not use Equifax intellectual property or trade secrets, including code, algorithms or methodology in the development of our credit rating product. Ant Financial has found absolutely no evidence of Equifax software, data or code having been transferred to our systems.

We did not directly or indirectly encourage potential job applicants to obtain Equifax intellectual property or trade secrets. 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 behavior. Further, we have specific agreements with our third-party recruiters that prohibit them from violating intellectual property rights of any parties. If any recruiter is found to have conducted such activities, we will stop accepting candidate referrals from them and may take legal action against them.

Ant Financial was never “asked” or directed by the Chinese government to develop our commercial credit scoring product, Zhima Credit, or “credit-scoring services.” Zhima Credit was independently developed by Ant Financial purely as a commercial product.

We provided the Wall Street Journal with facts establishing the falsity of its reporting, including documents, on-the-record statements and an in-person interview with the employee at the center of the events.

Neither Equifax nor any government investigators ever contacted Ant Financial about the allegations reported by the Wall Street Journal. In fact, the article reports that Equifax stopped cooperating with the FBI in its investigation, and “[t]he U.S. attorney's office in Atlanta ultimately determined it didn't have evidence the suspected thefts were directed by the Chinese government.”

We leave it to public opinion to judge if anyone should try to prosecute a case in the press when there is insufficient evidence under proper regulatory and legal framework. We also condemn any attempt by anyone to divert the attention on Equifax’s responsibility in allowing the breach of personal data of over 140 million Americans by pointing fingers at someone else.

Integrity is at the core of Ant Financial’s corporate values and cultural fabric. It is insulting to us and unfortunate that the Wall Street Journal ignored the facts, and instead printed a misleading story with false claims. 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.

We are committed to protecting the reputation of Ant Financial, which is trusted by 870 million users around the world.

陈磊明,蚂蚁金服集团首席法务合规官

今天《华尔街日报》刊发了一则报道,其中包含关于蚂蚁金服的错误信息。这篇报道基于来自匿名信源所做出的毫无事实依据的指控,充斥着基于互不相关的事实以及时间巧合的影射。因此,我们必须澄清事实真相。

在我们的信用评分产品开发过程中,蚂蚁金服没有使用过Equifax的知识产权或商业机密,包括代码、算法或方法。蚂蚁金服没有发现表明Equifax的软件、数据或代码曾被传输至我们系统的任何证据。

我们从未直接或间接地鼓励潜在求职者去获取Equifax的知识产权或商业机密。这种行为违反蚂蚁金服的商业行为准则,而且我们会对任何被发现参与这类行为的员工立即采取措施。此外,我们与第三方招聘机构有明确的协议约定,禁止他们侵犯任何人的知识产权。如果任何招聘机构被发现从事此类活动,我们将停止接受他们的候选人推荐,并可能对他们采取法律措施。

蚂蚁金服从未被中国政府“要求”或指示开发商业信用评分产品(即芝麻信用)或“信用分服务”。芝麻信用是蚂蚁金服独立开发的一款纯商业产品。

我们向《华尔街日报》提供了可以证明其报道失实的诸多事实,其中包括文件、公开声明,以及对事件核心员工的采访。

Equifax或任何政府的调查人员从未因《华尔街日报》所报道的指控而联系过蚂蚁金服。实际上,这篇文章也报道称,Equifax停止了与美国联邦调查局的合作,而“亚特兰大的美国检察官办公室最终也认定,没有任何证据证明,疑似的盗窃行为是由中国政府指使的”。

我们愿意让公众意见来评判,任何人是否应该在正常的监管和法律框架下已经显示证据不足时, 对事件进行“舆论审判”。我们也谴责任何人企图通过指责他人,来转移对Equifax泄露超过1.4亿美国人个人数据的自身责任的关注。

诚信是蚂蚁金服企业价值和文化的核心。令人遗憾的是,《华尔街日报》无视事实,刊发了一篇包含错误指控的误导性报道。这是对我们的污蔑。这篇报道不仅助长了针对特定公司的敌意,同时用一种概述式的叙事方式污蔑所有中国公司,进一步制造针对美国华裔的文化分裂。

蚂蚁金服受到全球8.7亿用户的信任,我们会竭尽全力维护自己的声誉。