Alibaba financial affiliate raises largest private funding ever at $4.5bn

26 Apr 2016

Ant Financial Services, an affiliate of the tech giant that is Alibaba, has just written itself into the history books, having secured $4.5bn in private funding, the single largest sum ever of its kind.

Once again, an Alibaba venture has found itself breaking another global business record, with its financial affiliate – responsible for Alipay, China’s largest e-payments platform – having secured the huge sum of funding, largely from within its own borders.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the funders included a small number of incredibly wealthy investors, as well as the Chinese state itself and the nation’s biggest insurers, bringing the affiliate’s value to somewhere close to $60bn.

Acquisition spree to follow

The decision to split off from Alibaba as a separate company closely tied with its parent company has proved lucrative for both parties, with Ant Financial Services having now expanded from just providing e-payments, to wider banking and wealth management and servicing over 450m annual users.

This new funding round is expected to help both it and Alibaba continue their expansion through acquisitions, with Alibaba recently making a move into south-east Asia with the $1bn purchase of the Malaysian e-payments company, Lazada.

Ant Financial Services’ vice president, Cyril Han, also said the funding will be used to acquire a number of IT infrastructure services, both domestic and foreign.

Similarly, the pair recently jointly purchased the country’s food delivery app for $1.25bn, as well as purchasing the Hong Kong-based lottery company, AGTech, for $308m.

This latest record investment has broken a record that has only been in place since January this year when Meituang-Dianping – a Chinese e-payments company involved with cinemas and restaurants – raised $3.3bn from private sources.

Alibaba sign image via Christopher Penler/Shutterstock 

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic