In what is being called the largest private tech raise ever, Ant Financial, the Alibaba affiliate that operates the payments platform Alipay, has brought in a mind-bending $4.5 billion on a $60 billion valuation.
You think Chinese investors have some money to spend? The previous largest raise was $3.3 billion in January for the event booking service Meituan-Dianping. Chinese rideshare platform Didi Kuaidi brought in $3 billion in Sept. 2015 — peanuts!
The Wall Street Journal reports the following about the funders of this Series B round:
Ant Financial has courted powerful Chinese state-owned firms in its outside fundraisings. In this round, it brought in new investors including the $740 billion sovereign-wealth fund China Investment Corp.’s CIC Capital and a subsidiary of state-owned China Construction Bank Corp.
Some of Ant Financial’s existing shareholders, including some of China’s biggest insurance companies, China Post Group, private-equity firm Primavera Capital Group, and China Development Bank Capital, put more money into Ant Financial as part of this round.
Ant Financial is based in HangZhou, China and has been led by Lucy Peng since its 2014 spinoff ahead of Alibaba’s IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. Claiming 450 million users for its Alipay digital payments platform, Ant offers a variety of financial services and insurance for mobile customers — investments in its money market fund Yu’e Bao, loans through Ant Microloan and the peer-to-peer lending platform Zhao Cai Bao, and microloans (and eventually deposit accounts) through MYbank. These services have 140 million users.
What will Ant do with the money? It’s a big world out there. As Alibaba CEO Jack Ma said last year:
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“If we want to be a global company, 50 percent of our revenues should be outside China,” he said. “Now less than 5 percent of the businesses from us are outside of China.”