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.”


Jack Ma’s Ant Financial nearly doubles profits amid deal push

Jack Ma’s Ant Financial nearly doubles profits amid deal push — Bloomberg — “The company controlled by Alibaba’s billionaire co-founder Jack Ma racked up an 86% jump in pretax profit to 5.56 billion yuan ($814 million) in the year ended March, according to Bloomberg’s calculations… Since starting as Alipay in 2004, Ant Financial has grown into an online giant that controls more than half of China’s $5.5 trillion mobile payments market.”


Meet the Chinese finance giant that’s secretly an AI company

Meet the Chinese finance giant that’s secretly an AI company — MIT Technology Review — “The smartphone payments business Ant Financial is using computer vision, natural language processing, and mountains of data to reimagine banking, insurance, and more… The company — which already operates a hugely successful smartphone payments business in China — aims to upend many areas of personal finance using machine learning and AI.”



Ant Financial enters Hong Kong market with AlipayHK mobile wallet

Ant Financial enters Hong Kong market with AlipayHK mobile wallet — South China Morning Post — “The mobile wallet and payments app, dubbed AlipayHK, is similar to its Chinese counterpart Alipay — registered users are able to top up their mobile wallets and make in-store payments that are settled in Hong Kong dollars at merchants such as Watsons, Fortress and at supermarkets like ParknShop.”





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