Ant Financial seals $10bn

Alibaba's financial services affiliate is now the most valuable VC-backed startup of all time, having reportedly closed funding in a GIC-led round.

Ant Financial, the China-based financial services affiliate of e-commerce group Alibaba, has agreed a $10bn funding round that values it at $150bn, Forbes reported this week, citing a source familiar with the discussions.

Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC is leading the round, which includes private equity group Carlyle, growth equity firm General Atlantic, private equity firm Silver Lake Partners and venture capital firm Sequoia Capital China, according to the China Securities Journal.

Warburg Pincus, the Singaporean state-owned Temasek, Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board and BlackRock were also touted as investors by the Financial Times last week.

Ant Financial operates a host of financial services products developed or connected to Alibaba, including Alipay, which held more than 50% of China’s mobile payment market as of the end of 2017, credit assessment service Sesame and money management fund Yu’e Bao.

The company has begun making strategic investments, taking part in rounds for bicycle hailing service Ofo, ride hailing platform Didi Chuxing and automotive e-commerce marketplace Souche.

Those deals extend beyond China’s borders too. Ant Financial has backed India-based food delivery service Zomato, India-based Paytm owner One97 Communications and Kakao Pay, the financial services offshoot of Korea-based internet company Kakao.

Part of the proceeds from the latest round will support international growth, where Ant Financial plans to appeal to small businesses. It has already established a local version of Alipay in Hong Kong.

The company was valued at $60bn as of its last round, when it raised $4.5bn in 2016 from postal service China Post, insurer China Life, China Development Bank (CDB), China Construction Bank’s CCB Trust vehicle, Primavera Capital Group and the state-owned China Investment Corp.

Ant Financial had already received an undisclosed amount of series A funding in 2015 from investors including CDB, the Chinese government’s National Social Security Fund and unnamed insurance firms, at a valuation of $45bn to $50bn.

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