Alibaba Payment Affiliate Raises $14B USD To Invest In Blockchainbr>
Chinese online payment services provider Ant Financial has raised $14 billion in its series C financing round.
Ant Financial is an affiliate company of Chinese Internet giant Alibaba. It operates Alipay, the world’s largest mobile and online payments platform, as well as Yu’e Bao, a money-market fund. Alipay claims it operates with more than 65 financial institutions, including Visa and MasterCard, to provide payment services for Taobao and Tmall, as well as more than 460,000 online and local Chinese businesses. Alipay, together with its global partners, claims to have about 870 million annual active users globally.
The Series C financing round includes a yuan-denominated tranche raised by Ant Financial from domestic investors, and a US-dollar tranche raised by Ant International, a wholly owned offshore subsidiary of the company, from international investors. Participants in the yuan-denominated tranche are mainly from existing domestic investors. The USD tranche was raised from a group of global institutional investors such as GIC, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Warburg Pincus, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Silver Lake, Temasek, General Atlantic.
Ant Financial said the money will be used to accelerate Alipay’s globalization plans and invest in innovative technologies, such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT). In addition, the funds will also be used to cultivate high-tech talent in emerging markets to help communities take advantage of the opportunities arising from digital transformation.
“We are pleased to welcome these investors as partners, who share our vision and mission, to embark on our journey to further promote inclusive finance globally and bring equal opportunities to the world,” said Eric Jing, executive chairman and CEO of Ant Financial. “Now, with the help of our partners, we are going to accelerate our strategy. We are dedicated to building an open ecosystem with all our partners in China and beyond. We will continue to invest in technology and innovation in order to serve unmet financial needs of people everywhere and to enable them to benefit from the development of the digital economy.”
In a statement in March of this year, Jing was very critical about initial coin offerings (ICO), stating that most of such projects do not go far beyond poorly drafted white papers. Jing ruled out the possibility of his firm holding an ICO, but he said it will continue on blockchain development, with a main focus on cross-blockchain compatibility.