Mobile Commerce

How Ant Financial Innovated And Raised $19 Billion

Ant Financial — Alibaba's financial arm — has been making plenty of headlines in the past year alone.

It's also been securing some major investments from large companies. Caixin online — the Chinese news service — reported that Ant Financial recently raised 12 billion yuan (about $19.3 billion) from China's national pension fund. Ant Financial also recently finished a private placement, sources told Caixin.

That most recent deal has helped Ant Financial secure a valuation of more than $40 billion — giving it the title of one of the world's most valuable privately held Internet firms, Caixin's report indicated.

"Ant Financial is looking to create a strong, driving force for the global Internet finance industry and build a new business ecosystem to achieve inclusive finance in the truest sense,"Ant Financial President Jing Xiandong said in an interview.

And it's well on its way to doing that with its new funds. The new funds will reportedly be used to help its technical side, help recruit more employees and build upon its existing business platform.

So with a slew of funding from major investors, what's next for Ant Financial? Moving beyond being just a payment service provider. Instead, Ant Financial has ambitions to be an online payments platform for more major partners — including restaurants, entertainment companies and health care providers. And as the trend is going, Ant Financial wants to put more of a stake into the growing popularity in online-to-offline services. Ant Financial has also been building on its Internet financial services, Caixin reported.

"By using technologies such as mobile devices, we will have opportunities to break down many barriers," said Wang Lijuan, head of Ant Financial's O2O department.

It was recently reported that Alibaba and Ant Financial are betting big and jointly investing almost $1 billion in a joint venture called Koubei.

Jing also told Caixin that Ant Financial has its eyes set on creating a new credit rating service that works in collaboration with Alibaba's data storage technology. But that's just one of the many innovations in the back pocket of a company that already has around 400 million clients — half of which are wealth management accounts. Koubei is an expansion of Alibaba/Alipay’s mobile business that seek to blend the “real world” and “online” shopping experience into a single, fluid, commerce event – mainly by focusing on restaurants and brick-and-mortar stores. On the platform, Ant Financial will provide merchants with tools.

To check out what else is HOT in the world of payments, click here.

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