Tech Transformers

Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial raises record-breaking $4.5 billion funding round


Ant Financial, the affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba that runs Alipay, confirmed on Tuesday that it had raised $4.5 billion in what is the world's largest single private funding round for an internet company.

The funding round values the company at roughly $60 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter, as previously reported by CNBC.

Chinese sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation together with China Construction Bank led the round. They were joined by existing Ant Financial shareholders which include China Life; China Post Group, the parent company of Postal Savings Bank of China; China Development Bank Capital and Primavera Capital Group.

The round makes Ant Financial the second-most valuable private technology firm behind U.S. ride hailing app Uber, which is worth over $62 billion, and ahead of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, which has a valuation of $45 billion.

Zhang Peng | LightRocket | Getty Images

Ant Financial said that the money would be used to invest in infrastructure such as cloud computing and biometric verification technologies in order to drive growth internationally and in rural areas of China.

The company, which was spun off from Alibaba before it went public in 2014, runs China's biggest payments service Alipay which boasts a total of 450 million active users and processes 170 million transactions per day. It also operates online money-market fund Yu'e Bao, banking service MYbank and a lending platform called Ant Micro Loan.

Ant Financial has been on a drive to expand Alipay beyond China, particularly to help Chinese tourists make purchases abroad using its platform.

Alibaba and Ant Financial upped their stake in Indian payments firm Paytm last year as it looks to expand into India.

Sabrina Peng, president of Alipay International, told CNBC this month, that the firm is "actively looking" for more partners in Asia as it looks to go deeper into the region. The fresh funds should give Ant Financial the firepower to continue investing in firms.

Alipay also launched in Europe earlier this month.

Ant Financial is not the only payments company raising large sums of money. The finance unit of rival - JD Finance - took a 6.65 billion yuan ($1.02 billion) funding round in January, valuing it at 46.65 billion yuan ($7.2 billion).