Ant Financial eyes 2017 IPO

Alibaba’s financial services arm is rumoured to be planning an initial public offering in mainland China in the next two years.

A source familiar with the company’s plans has said that the IPO could happen next year at the earliest, or in 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group, known as Ant Financial, owns the Alipay online payment service, but was spun off from Alibaba in 2011.

The company has been expanding its services by taking advantage of Alipay’s user base of 300 million, and a current funding round is valuing the financial services company at tens of billions of dollars, the report said.

Earlier this month, Alibaba chairman Jack Ma said Ant Financial should go public, but added that he had not yet considered when the affiliate company should be listed because it was “still a baby”.

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