Ant Financial targets South America and Africa for next phase of mobile payments growth

Ant Financial sees huge growth for cashless payments in South America, Africa — South China Morning Post — “Kenny Man, head of international investment for Ant Financial, said over the next five years, emerging markets including those in South America and Africa will be priority for the company’s global partnerships… ‘China has leapfrogged over traditional credit cards to the mobile wallet. That same change will be even more radical and faster in different parts of the world, whereby people will embrace mobile payments,’ Man said.”


Chinese consumers have now deposited $150bn with Alipay and Tencent

PBOC to raise reserve funds ratio for third-party payment firms to 100% — Caixin — “The two largest third-party payment firms, Alipay and Tenpay, combined hold nearly 1tn yuan (US$151bn) of customers’ funds, about 90% of the total reserve funds… Reserve funds are prepayments from online shoppers held temporarily by payment companies that can then earn income on the cash by depositing it in banks or even buying government bonds… The requirement means payment firms such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd backed Alipay and Tencent Holdings Ltd’s Tenpay can no longer invest money deposited by their respective clients.”


Ant Financial to pivot away from Alipay?

Exclusive: Ant Financial shifts focus from finance to tech services: sources — Reuters — “Ant Financial Services Group, the dominant Chinese fintech company, is shifting its main focus to technology services and away from payments and consumer finance as Beijing’s crackdown on financial risk deepens, four sources with knowledge of the matter said… They said the move was propelled, in part, by growing regulatory pressure on Ant’s core financial businesses, including payments, micro lending, credit rating and wealth management.”


Hong Kong to be global battlefront for mobile payments?

A payments battle is brewing in Hong Kong — Bloomberg — “Alipay’s azure blue logos began appearing two years ago in Hong Kong’s airport, greeting travelers from China who rely on the popular payments app back home. In recent months, taxis got them. Now stores and boutiques have them. They’re all signs of a battle brewing in Hong Kong that will test whether a Western-style financial system — based on banks, credit and debit cards — can fend off a pair of apps that have come to dominate how people spend and send money throughout China. If Ant Financial’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeChat Pay can expand into the city and win new customers there, why not in Europe and the US, too?”


Ant Financial signs technology sharing deals with Chinese banks

Ant Financial to support Shanghai Pudong Development Bank’s digital transformation with financial grade technologies — Ant Financial — “The partnership will allow Ant Financial and SPD Bank to strengthen collaboration on a broad range of inclusive finance initiatives, from improving user experience while using online and offline payment services, to providing secure, convenient and efficient financial services for small and micro businesses… The agreement is the third of its kind announced this month between Ant Financial and established banks, following partnerships with Huaxia Bank and China Everbright Bank.”


Ant Financial raises $10bn at a $150bn valuation

China’s Ant Financial raises $10 billion at $150 billion valuation: sources — Reuters — “Ant Financial Services Group, operator of China’s biggest online payment platform by market share, Alipay, has closed its latest funding round having raised US$10bn from a clutch of global and local investors, five people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Ant’s first fundraising targeting global money values the firm at US$150bn, the people said, compared with about US$60bn after its previous fundraising in April 2016.”


Beijing Metro begins accepting QR code mobile tickets at turnstiles

QR code smartphone tickets available for subway — China.org.cn — “Travellers in Beijing can now use a QR code on their smartphone as a ticket to ride the subway… Passengers can download an app called RuubyPay that generates a QR code ticket that can be read using a scanner built into the subway turnstiles. The QR code scanning app can be used on any smartphone running iOS or Android that is connected to the internet, according to Sina.com. Tickets can be paid for using a linked bank, Alipay, or JD Finance account.”


Ant Financial seeks US$9bn in new funding

Jack Ma’s Ant Financial to raise $9bn, become world’s biggest unicorn — Wall Street Journal — “Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s financial technology business is about to vault into the ranks of the world’s most valuable companies. Ant Financial Services Group, carved out of his e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd seven years ago, is preparing to raise US$9bn in a private funding round, according to people familiar with the matter. That ups a previous fundraising target of US$5bn.”


Central bank fines Alipay for breaching data protection regulations

Alipay is stepping up data protection after PBOC fine — Yicai Global — “Alipay, the fintech platform run by Ant Financial Services Group, is looking to improve its data collection processes after China’s central bank fined it for breaching data protection regulations… Alipay published misleading video campaigns and its collection of personal financial information failed to meet minimum security requirements, the regulator said, adding that the firm also used data inappropriately.”


Alipay parent Ant Financial to go public at a $100bn valuation?

China’s Ant plans equity fundraising at potential $100 billion valuation — Reuters — “China’s Ant Financial Services Group is planning to raise up to US$5bn (£3.59bn) in fresh equity that could value the online payments giant at more than US$100bn… A fundraising would bring Ant, in which e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is taking a one-third stake, a step closer to a hotly anticipated initial public offering.”


Apple to accept Alipay mobile payments at its stores in China

Apple brings Alibaba-linked payment system into China stores amid market push — Reuters — “The tie-up will make Alipay, run by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, the first third-party mobile payment system to be accepted at any physical Apple store worldwide… The Cupertino-based firm will accept Alipay payment across its 41 brick-and-mortar retail stores in China.”


Alibaba takes 33% stake in Alipay operator Ant Financial

Alibaba agrees to 33% stake in Ant Financial — Alibaba — “An equity stake in Ant Financial will bring key strategic benefits to Alibaba, including advancing its New Retail strategy with mobile payments, increasing user acquisition and retention through collaboration with the Alipay digital wallet (“Alipay Wallet”), and enhancing the execution of the international expansion… Upon closing, the companies will terminate the current profit-sharing arrangement under which Ant Financial pays royalty and technology service fees in an amount equal to 37.5% of its pre-tax profits to Alibaba.”



Ant Financial gets central bank approval to launch mobile wallet JV in Malaysia

Touch ’n Go, Ant Financial get nod for e-wallet services — The Star — “Touch ’n Go Sdn Bhd (TNG) and partner Ant Financial Services Group have obtained Bank Negara’s approval to operate and offer mobile e-wallet services… The mobile e-wallet will be operated by TNG Digital Sdn Bhd, the joint-venture company between TNG and Ant Financial… TNG also expects its current users who are predominantly toll, transit and parking users to quickly sign on to enjoy the expanded services.”


Alipay pushes into Hong Kong, India, Thailand and the Philippines with Christmas shopping festival

Alipay to hold online 24-hour Christmas shopping festival as part of expansion push — South China Morning Post — “The event will take place in Hong Kong, India, Thailand and the Philippines with Alipay partners in each location: Hutchison in Hong Kong, Paytm in India, Truemoney in Thailand and GCash in the Philippines… As part of the December event, the AlipayHK joint venture has partnered with more than 8,000 bricks-and-mortar stores to offer exclusive gifts, discounts and rewards.”


Ant Financial signs mobile wallet joint venture deal in Hong Kong

CK Hutchison and Ant Financial form strategic partnership to provide digital financial inclusive services in Hong Kong — CK Hutchison — “The two companies will form a joint venture to offer a consumer-oriented digital wallet under the ‘AlipayHK’ brand… CK Hutchison Group and its affiliated companies’ consumer networks have over 124m retail loyalty members and over 123m telecom and 35m utility customers… The joint venture is expected to be completed by the end of 2017, subject to regulatory approval.”




China targets mobile payments oligopoly with clearing mandate

China targets mobile payments oligopoly with clearing mandate — Financial Times — “China’s central bank has ordered online payment groups to operate through a centralised clearing house, a move likely to undercut the dominance of Ant Financial and Tencent by forcing them to share valuable transaction data with competitors… The latest PBoC instructions require all payment companies to connect to the clearing house by October 15 and to channel all payments through it by June 30.”


Alibaba’s self-service Tao Cafe takes e-shopping offline

Alibaba’s self-service Tao Cafe takes e-shopping offline — Xinhua — “Entry into Tao Cafe in Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province, is through ticket gates similar to those at subway stations, however, customers scan their smart phones instead of tickets… The 200-square-meter store offering beverages, fast food and snacks can accommodate 50 customers at a time. To enter and make a purchase, shoppers require only a smart phone with Alibaba’s Taobao ecommerce app.”


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