Ant Financial who is the owner of China’s Alipay, has just become a force to be reckoned with when it comes to tech stocks in the payment processing industry. Ant Financial is now worth a whopping $60 billion. That makes it bigger than rival PayPal.
The valuation has been based on a new fundraising round that was just completed by Ant Financial where investors pledged $4.5 billion in what the company has stated, was “the largest ever private placement by an Internet company.”
Other tech stocks like PayPal, in comparison, is “only” worth about $48 billion, according to FactSet data. Ant Financial is expecting to use the new funds in order to “expand access to financial services in China’s rural areas, while also fueling the company’s globalization.”
The company is actually (come to find out) an affiliate of China’s e-commerce and tech sector giant Alibaba (hence the “AliPay” moniker), and it hasn’t been shy about its ambitions since launching in 2014. It’s hinted at a stock market listing, and has already expanded into India.
Ant Financial first began as Alipay, which was an online platform that processes payments for Alibaba websites Taobao and Tmall. Alipay has continued to be Ant’s biggest asset, but the company has been adding even more offerings, including a credit rating service, an internet bank that lends money to small businesses, and even a money market fund. Existing Ant Financial shareholders including insurance firm China Life, China Post Group, and China Development Bank Capital dove head first into this latest funding round. Additional investors include organizations led by China Investment Corp. Capital, and CCB Trust, which is a subsidiary of one of China’s largest banks.
Last month Ant Financial was supposedly in consideration of an acquisition of Caixin, a respected Chinese financial media group. Reports show that Ant declined to comment but also came just a few months after Alibaba announcedit was buying Hong Kong newspaper, South China Morning Post.