Chinese payments company Ant Financial has plans for the future — but going public isn't one of them.
“We don’t have any timetable for an IPO,” Douglas Feagin, president of the international business group at Ant Financial, told CNBC.
His comments echo those of other company executives, including CEO Eric Jing. Feagin added that the company was “very much focused on growing our business, and, frankly, there’s not a lot holding us back.” He said Ant is looking into other areas, such as providing financial services to small and medium-sized businesses.
But in September it was revealed that Chinese regulators had given parent company Alibaba permission to restructure Ant Financial, which would open a path for an initial public offering (IPO).
In the meantime, Feagin said that the company, which operates the Alipay service, plans to boost its customer base to 2 billion over the next decade, as well as “dramatically” grow its users outside China. He noted that Ant currently has over 1.2 billion users around the world.
“It’s 900 million (users) in China, 300 million outside. We see the 300 million growing dramatically outside of China,” he said. “Indeed, we have an ambition of serving 2 billion consumers over the next 10 plus years and so clearly the majority of those are going to come from outside China.”
Ant also just announced that it might also apply for a virtual banking license in Singapore. The Monetary Authority of Singapore is offering as many as five digital banking permits to non-banks to boost competition. While Ant didn’t reveal if it would pursue a retail or wholesale license, it will be easier for it to obtain the latter. And earlier this year, Ant’s SME Services (Hong Kong) Ltd. unit received a permit from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to operate a virtual bank in the Chinese territory, while in March it launched a banking-as-a-service platform with Jiangsu-based Hoperun Information Technology.
Ant Financial is worth around $150 billion, making it one of the most valuable private sector FinTech companies in the world.