Ant Financial closes massive $4.5bn series B

Alibaba's financial services affiliate has raised funding from backers including China Post and China Life as the country's tech companies continue to close 10-figure rounds.

Ant Financial, which acts as China-based e-commerce group Alibaba’s financial services affiliate, has closed $4.5bn in a round that stands as the largest officially disclosed by a private technology company, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.

The series B round, which valued Ant Financial at about $60bn, included postal service China Post Group and insurance companies including China Life, according to TechCrunch.

Other investors included sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp (CIC), private equity firm Primavera Capital Group, the state-owned China Development Bank Capital and CCB Trust, which acts as a subsidiary of China Construction Bank.

Formed by Alibaba in 2014, Ant brings together several online financial services and investment entities including Alibay, the most widely-used online payment platform in China.

Ant has also looked to expand through strategic investments, paying $550m for a 25% stake in One97, the India-based owner of online payment platform Paytm, co-investing with Alibaba in food ordering platform Ele.me and leading a series D round for online financial media company 36kr.

The company has not disclosed how it plans to use the funding, but it reportedly plans to work with CIC to expand beyond China, where it has built up a base of around 450 million users.

Ant Financial vice president Cyril Han told the WSJ that it intends to eventually float both in China and internationally.

The series B round follows a series A that closed in July 2015, and which involved Ant issuing 12.4% of its shares to investors including China Development Bank, National Council for Social Security Fund and undisclosed China-based insurance firms at a $40bn to $50bn valuation.

China Post subsequently invested an undisclosed sum in September.

– This article first appeared on our sister site Global Corporate Venturing.

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