Founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA), the Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s financial-technology business, Ant Financial Services Group, is about to raise $9 billion, which is up from the previous fundraising target of $5 billion.
Ant Financial Services Group is a company carved out from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Seven years ago. Ant Financial now is one of the largest non-bank lenders in China, and it owns the most popular mobile payments network, Alipay.
According to Wall Street Journal, the latest funding round could value Ant Financial at around $150 billion, making it become one of the world’s largest private companies. If Ant Financial goes public at a valuation of more than 4100 billion, it could worth more than large U.S. financial firms including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Paypal Holdings Inc. and BlackRock Inc.
After last announced fundraising round secured $4.5 billion from Chinese investors, the company had increased revenue, expanded Alipay within China and in other countries, and widened its scope of financial services for individuals and small businesses. Moreover, Ant Financial has an asset-management business that oversees the world’s largest money-market fund, a credit-scoring business and a large lending arm.
Ant Financial also has been trying to expand abroad, teaming up with several foreign banks and payment networks and enabling Alipay to be accepted at retailers around the world. The firm last year tried to acquire U.S. money transfer company MoneyGram International Inc. at about $1.2 billion, but the deal did not work out since the companies couldn’t get approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S.