Summary of Ant Financial global expansion: acquisitions, investments, shareholding

1 September 2017

Ant Financial, the financial affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba, is expanding its global platform at an astonishing pace. Chinese largest Internet financial-services provider is making mighty strides abroad by forging partnerships in Asia, Europe and the U.S. in a bid to connect its payment service, Alipay, with more customers and merchants globally.

The company is planning to raise about $3 billion through debt financing to fund its ambitious global expansion plans, according to media reports. Can the company implement such audacious, ambitious plans? Time will tell on that. In this article, we briefly summarize the key moments and events in the history of Ant Financial that contributed to its global spread, gradually increasing its turnover and consolidating its dominant position in the world market.

helloPay

In April this year Ant Financial acquired Singapore-based payment service helloPay Group in order to boost its Alipay brand and presence in the region. That being said, helloPay (a payment subsidiary of Lazada, which was acquired by Alibaba for $1 billion last year) will be re-branded as Alipay in relevant markets, including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. However, Ant Financial did not disclose financial terms of the helloPay deal.

MoneyGram

At the beginning of this year, Ant Financial finally won its battle with Euronet to acquire MoneyGram, the U.S.-based cross-border payments service, after it increased its bid to $1.2 billion. Building an offline financial services network makes sense, because it allows Ant Financial to serve more users outside of China. MoneyGram would let the company offer more money transfers in U.S., China, India, Mexico and the Philippines.

EyeVerify

In September 2016, Ant Financial acquired EyeVerify in order to expand services using the U.S. startup’s biometric authentication technology for securing consumers’ online data and transactions. Payment details of the deal were private. Ant Financial’s immediate priority in the U.S. is to win acceptance from American merchants so that Chinese consumers can use Alipay wherever they travel.

As for short-term plans, Ant Financial is going to enter a joint venture with media company Elang Mahkota Teknologi (Emtek) to launch a new mobile payment platform in Indonesia.

Investments and shareholding

Ant Financial is seeking global domination. The company has an open stated intention to reach two billion users by 2025. The way in which it will achieve this is through local and international partnerships, and many of these have been started already:

Date Invested in Round
April, 2017 Ofo (the Chinese bike sharing company) undisclosed amount / Undisclosed (Lead)
March, 2017 Youon Bike (the Chinese bike sharing company) undisclosed amount / Series A (Lead)
February, 2017 Kakao Pay (the Korean payment system) $200 million / Private Equity (Lead)
February, 2017 Mynt (a digital payments and lending platform operated by Globe Telecom in the Philippines) undisclosed amount / Undisclosed (Lead)
November, 2016 Ascend Money (Thailand-based e-payments provider) undisclosed amount / Undisclosed (Lead)
November, 2016 Souche (Hangzhou car transaction service firm) $100 million / Series C (Lead)
September, 2016 Yum! China (the Chinese leading restaurant company) $460 million / Private Equity
June, 2016 Didi Chuxing (the Chinese ride-sharing services firm) $4.5 billion / Undisclosed
June, 2016 Shanghai Suntime Information Technology (a financial data provider) $35 million / Venture (Lead)
May, 2016 Taobao Movie (an online ticketing platform) ¥1.7 billion / Series A (Lead)
April, 2016 Ele.me (one of China’s leading food delivery startups) $1.25 billion / Undisclosed
October, 2015 36Kr (a technology media platform and startup services provider) undisclosed amount / Series D (Lead)
September, 2015 One97 Communications (an Indian leading mobile-Internet company) $680 million / Undisclosed
August, 2015 Qudian (the Chinese electronics retailer) $200 million / Series E (Lead)
June, 2015 Koubei (the Chinese services startup focusing at first on food delivery) $966 million / Undisclosed (Lead)
February, 2015 One97 Communications (an Indian leading mobile-Internet company) $200 million / Undisclosed (Lead)
November, 2014 V-Key (a software-based digital security solutions provider headquartered in Singapore) $12 million / Series B

 

While promoting digital financial inclusion and green finance, Ant Financial aims to provide financial services to over two billion users in ten years. To achieve that, it is building an open ecosystem with its global partners. If that was not enough, Ant Financial is also investing in and applying advanced technology such as big data, artificial intelligence, facial recognition, blockchain, and intelligent risk control to solidify its core products. Overall, Ant Financial is steadily moving towards becoming a global company.

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