Chinese digital payments giant Ant Financial (an affiliate of Alibaba) has raised $14 Bn in its latest financing round, making it the world’s largest fintech company ahead of an expected mammoth IPO. Bloomberg News recently reported it was raising funds at a $150 billion valuation.
The investment provides fresh resources as its payments platform Alipay battles Tencent for supremacy in the vast and growing market for global digital transactions and other financial services.
“The funds will be invested in new technologies and to accelerate Alipay’s expansion abroad and into new sectors.” said Ant said statement
Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay are China’s online-payments leaders, profiting handsomely as consumers throw themselves into e-commerce, ordering goods and services via mobile apps and online.
Ant Financial is believed to be planning an IPO expected to become one of the largest in years, amid speculation it could list on one of China’s two exchanges. Alibaba and other big tech companies such as Baidu and Tencent previously chose to list on Wall Street or in Hong Kong.
China has been making moves to encourage future listings on domestic markets to keep a new generation of technology titans closer to home as it pushes to challenge the US for primacy in the strategic sector.
Ant Financial says Alipay and its overseas partners in several countries serve around 870 million annual active users globally and over 15 million small businesses in China. Ant said the latest financing came from unnamed domestic investors, as well as foreign entities including Singapore wealth funds GIC and Temasek Holdings, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and global private equity firm Warburg.