Bloomberg reports today (January 30) that Ant Financial, which includes Alipay payments, will go public in 2016.
The estimated value of Ant Financial is $50 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. These same sources say that China’s National Social Security Fund has been asked to invest. NSSF is the fund operated by the government to support future social security expenditures on China. Details of the IPO are not known.
Alipay spun out of Alibaba in 2011, giving Jack Ma a controlling interest in the new company, Ant Financial. In addition to Alipay, Ant Financial provides a number of financial services to Chinese consumers, including money market funds.
“By raising funds through an IPO, the company could have more money to develop a variety of online finance products and cater to smaller businesses,” said Wang Weidong, an analyst at Shanghai-based Internet consultant IResearch. He also said that the company has the potential to grow beyond a valuation of $50 billion, he said.
Upon going public, Alibaba will be entitled to a share of earnings at Ant Financial. Earlier in the year, Jack Ma hinted that Alipay/Ant Financial would go public but declined to provide a timeframe.
Alibaba spokeswoman Teresa Li, speaking on behalf of both Alibaba and Ant Financial, declined to comment.