1. Brief introduction
Ant Financial Services Group (“Ant Financial”), was officially founded in October 2014 and originated from Alipay which is the world’s leading third-party payment platform founded in 2004 under Alibaba Group (antgroup.com 2016).
Ant Financial’s main businesses includes Alipay, Ant Fortune, MYbank and Zhima Credit. Among them, Alipay is the core business that contributes the majority of profit to the group.
Alipay – Launched in 2004, Alipay is the world’s leading third-party payment platform. Alipay occupies the biggest online payment market share in China with more than 600 million users.
Ant Fortune – Launched in August 2015, Ant Fortune is a comprehensive wealth management app that allows users to manage their finances in one place.
MYbank – MYbank is a private online bank established on June 25, 2015 with a mission to serve small and micro enterprises
Zhima Credit – Zhima Credit is an independent third-party credit filing and scoring service provider which is supported by cloud computing and machine learning technologies.
3. Relation with Alibaba
Though Ant Financial is Alibaba’s finance arm, it is not owned by Alibaba Group right now. In June of 2011, Alibaba transferred the ownership of Alipay to a domestic-funded enterprise named Zhejiang Alibaba E-Commerce Ltd (浙江阿里巴巴电子商务有限公司) in order to obtain the license to provide online financial and payment service (China prohibits foreign investment in the key industries). This Zhejiang Alibaba E-Commerce Ltd was not owned by Alibaba group but Jack Ma and some senior management from Alibaba. Alibaba’s transfer of Alipay’s ownership resulted in a dispute with Yahoo and Softbank Corp, two of its largest shareholders. The dispute was later settled under an agreement which guarantees Alibaba 37.5 per cent of the total equity value of Alipay or a payment of at least $2bn and up to $6bn, in case the spun-off company goes public or another ”liquidity event” takes place. Some believed that the separation of Alipay from Alibaba had greatly strengthened Jack Ma’s speaking right in Alibaba.
4. Key events / reports
The MoneyGram Deal
In January 2017, Ant Financial revealed a deal to buy MoneyGram for US $880 million in the firm’s first deal with a US listed company to increase its global presence. The purchase will give Ant Financial access to the legacy remittance firm’s massive network, which includes 2.4 billion bank and mobile accounts (techcrunch.com 2017).
Launch of “Fortune” Platform
March 21, 2017, Ant Financial announced the launch of its “Fortune” platform which is open to fund companies and financial institutions and encourages them to build their own brand and provide financial services via the platform. Ant Financial claimed that it will continue to focus on providing technology support instead of offering financial services direct to the individual customers.
antgroup.com 2016 About Ant [online] accessed via: https://www.antgroup.com/
techcrunch.com 2017 Alibaba’s Ant Financial is buying MoneyGram for $880M to expand its global presence [online] accessed via: https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/27/alibaba-ant-financial-moneygram/