HONG KONG (Reuters) - The Alipay system affiliated with Jack Ma's Alibaba Group has received a license from China's central bank to operate an electronic payment system in the country, the company said on Thursday.
The license would allow Alipay to handle foreign exchange transactions, Internet payments, mobile payments and debit card services, Alipay said in a statement.
Alibaba Group restructured Alipay's ownership structure, giving Ma full ownership control of the payment business.
Yahoo Inc, which owns 43 percent of Alibaba Group, said that the restructuring occurred "without the knowledge or approval of the Alibaba Group board of directors or shareholders."
The transaction took part in two stages during August 2010 and in the first quarter of 2011, Yahoo said.
Alibaba Group, which is the parent of Alibaba.com, said the restructuring was made to comply with the licensing regulations and to ensure continuation of operations.
Alipay is one of China's largest online payments operator and under the new rules of the People's Bank of China, such operators will need a license before September 1 to continue or conduct online payments business in China.
(Reporting by Huang Yuntao and Kelvin Soh; Editing by Chris Lewis and Jacqueline Wong)