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China's Ant Financial is not looking to ‘buy’ technology, says executive

Key Points
  • Ant Financial's Doug Feagin says the impact on the company of a potential restriction on Chinese investment in U.S. technology companies is likely to be limited.
  • Speaking with CNBC, Feagin said the company has built its existing platform based on its existing customer base and is not looking to "buy" technology.
  • Feagin stressed the importance of local partnerships as the company expands overseas.

The attractiveness of local partnerships

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'We build our own technology' based on consumer needs: Ant Financial

As news of a possible restriction on Chinese investment in U.S. technology companies surfaced amid the ongoing trade spat between the world's two largest economies, Alibaba-affiliated financial technology firm Ant Financial struck a calm note.

“We operate in many different countries and there are different political developments and regulatory developments in the different countries all over the world,” said Douglas Feagin, senior vice president of global business at Ant Financial.

Speaking with CNBC’s Akiko Fujita, Feagin said: “For us right now, the technology that we’re using is based on our existing customer base and expanding that out.”

Expressing enthusiasm for the technology that has been developed by Ant Financial, Feagin said the company remains “very confident” of its ability to innovate.

“We’re not so much really even looking to go around the world and try to buy technology,” he added.

Asked about the potential impact of rising global trade tensions on Ant Financial’s partnerships with local companies, Feagin said the company remains “very excited” about the model and will continue to follow it in a number of different markets.

While Ant Financial provides the technology and the know-how to partners, they’re responsible for thinking about local consumers' needs and how products and services can be rolled out within those markets, he said.

“That’s how you best understand the local consumers, that’s how you can best protect their data, store data and things like that locally,” he added.

Looking ahead, Feagin said Ant Financial’s focus for now is to build upon its existing nine relationships with local partners and expanding its customer base among them, with the possibility of “selectively” adding new allies in the future.