Alibaba’s financial arm may soon be worth somewhere between $50 billion and $60 billion. At least, if the many reports citing anonymous sources are correct.
Multiple major media outlets reported yesterday (March 7) that Ant Financial is after a valuation of close to $60 billion as part of its latest funding round. Ant Financial is most known for being the company behind Alipay, the digital payments platform. One source said the company was looking for funding from both new and current investors, including CCB International.
Early on Monday, The Wall Street Journal was reporting that Ant Financial was looking to raise $3.1 billion (20 billion yuan), which would put its valuation around $50 billion. But, by later in the day, Reuters‘ report had pegged that valuation closer to $60 billion.
No representative from Ant Financial has commented publicly on the reports, but WSJ indicated this funding round could be complete as early as mid-April.
Alipay has become a staple service for Alibaba and Ant Financial, as China has a massive population of mobile-friendly consumers who are driven to smartphones for nearly ever facet of life, including payments and finances, of course.
Just to get a taste of its success, during Alibaba’s Singles’ Day Global Shopping Festival, the company had $14 billion in GMV settled through Alipay across its platforms. That’s from 115 million buyers in a 24-hour period. Alibaba processed 467 million delivery orders, and there were 95 million mobile users who made purchases on its marketplaces during the shopping festival. Regarding Alibaba’s overall mobile presence, mobile revenue, according to its most recent quarterly earnings report, grew by 192 percent from the year prior, to roughly $2.89 billion.
Now, this new funding round could give Alipay an even stronger presence in the highly competitive mobile commerce market in China. Ant Financial has made diverse investments, ranging from a Chinese lottery company to China’s Postal Savings Bank.
What the latest funding round could also mean is that Ant Financial might be that much closer to its future IPO, which is a highly anticipated one in the financial services industry. Estimates suggest this could come as early as 2017 on the Chinese stock exchange.