The price bubble surround China’s third-party payment license has burst as the trading price of the once coveted resource slumped by half over the past few months, Chinese local media is reporting.

“The market demand for third-party payment licenses is cooling down while its prices plunged from RMB 800 million (around $115 million) – RMB 1 billion to RMB 300 million to RMB 400 million. Despite the price drop, buyers are scarce,” the report said, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

For companies that run online payment service in China, it’s mandatory to obtain a license in order to conduct transactions legally. China’s central bank has issued a total of 271 online payment licenses from 2011 to 2015 and suspended issuing new licenses since 2016. Currently, there are 238 such licenses in the market. 33 licenses have been revoked by the bank due to malpractice by the agencies.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.