Unicorns 2/229 – Ant Financial

Unicorns 2/229 – Ant Financial


Formerly called Alipay
Key people: Lucy Peng (Executive Chair), Eric Jing (Chief Executive Officer), Cheng Li (Chief Technology Officer), Chen Long (Chief Strategy Officer)
Number of employees: ~7000

Ant Financial Services Group (Chinese: 蚂蚁金服), formerly known as Alipay, is an affiliate company of the Chinese Alibaba Group. It operates the Alipay payment platform. It also runs the Zhima Credit credit rating system.


Alipay was rebranded as Ant Financial Services on 16th October 2014. In 2015, Ant Financial raised $4.5 billion in a funding round with investors such as China Investment Corp (CIC), CCB Trust, China Life, China Post Group, China Development Bank Capital and Primavera Capital Group. In 2015, the company was valued at about $45 billion. As of 26 April 2016, Ant Financial had around 450 million annual active users, with Credit Suisse estimating that 58% of China’s online payment transactions went through Alipay. In September 2016, Ant Financial bought EyeVerify Inc.

By late January 2017, Ant Financial had a valuation of $60 billion. At the time, the Wall Street Journal called Ant “a juggernaut of online banking, fund management and other financial services.” Some analysts valued it around $70 billion, and “predict it could soon be worth over $100 billion,” above the market capitalization of Goldman Sachs Group at $95 billion. On January 26, 2017, Ant Financial Services Group announced a deal to acquire MoneyGram International for $880 million. After the announcement, Ant’s stock rose 8.8%. Approval still needed to be granted from the CFIUS.

Subsidiaries and joint ventures

The financial company Koubei was created as a joint venture in 2015 by Alibaba and Ant Financial Services Group. As of 26 April 2016, Ant Financial operates the money-market fund Yu’e Bao and the online bank called MYbank.

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