HANGZHOU, ZHEJIANG PROVINCE, CHINA (SEPTEMBER 1, 2017) (REUTERS) – Ant Financial Services Group, operator of China’s biggest online payment platform, on Friday (June 8) said it raised around $14 billion in what market watchers called the biggest-ever single fundraising globally by a private company.
The cash will boost Ant’s firepower ahead of a widely expected initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong and mainland China as early as next year – though the company has neither publicly set a timetable nor chosen a likely stock exchange.
Ant Financial, spun off from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd before the e-commerce firm’s 2014 listing, has played a major role in shaping China’s financial technology landscape. It oversees the largest mobile payment app in what is increasingly becoming a cash-less society.
In a statement, Ant said the funding included both U.S. dollar and Chinese yuan tranches. The dollar share made up over $10 billion, said people with knowledge of the matter.
Ant listed Singaporean sovereign wealth fund (SWF) GIC Pte Ltd and state investor Temasek Holdings (Private) Ltd as well as U.S. private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC as participants in the dollar tranche.
Reuters reported earlier that Ant was likely to be valued at around $150 billion, making it one of the world’s most valuable financial firms.
It said in its statement, that it would use the funds to speed up globalisation plans for its Alipay payment platform and to invest in developing financial technology.
Ant aims to reach 2 billion consumers globally with its payments network in coming years, backed by investments and strategic partnerships with Southeast Asian payment firms as well as tie-ups in South Korea, Japan and India.