Ant Financial just closed the biggest funding round in the world

people walking in front of Alibaba sign

Not content with driving the biggest e-commerce event in the world, where its customers spend a whopping $14.3 billion (that’s right, billion) in 24 hours, Alibaba is again in the news for record-breaking reasons.

It’s affiliate Ant Financial, which runs Alipay, the largest payment online payments service in China (all the Singles Day payments were made using the service), has confirmed reports suggesting it closed a private fundraising round worth $4.5 billion. This means the company is now valued at $60 billion, just $2 billion shy of Uber, the biggest privately owned tech company in the world.

China Construction Bank and wealth fund China Investment Corporation reportedly led the fund, according to CNBC. Existing Ant Financial shareholders including China Development Bank Capital and Primavera Capital Group also participated in the round. The money will be invested in cloud technology and biometric security and to drive international growth.

Earlier this month the Alipay president, Sabrina Peng, went on stage at Money20/20 Europe and announced that the service boasted 450 million users and handles 175 million transactions every day as well as the company’s European ambitions.

Earlier in the year, Rita Liu, Head of Europe, Alipay, told PaymentEye about the significant opportunity presented by Chinese tourism:

According to the World Tourism Organisation, the Chinese tourism market is worth $164 billion, so we have been working with partners all across Europe to provide merchants the opportunity to benefit from this market, by integrating Alipay.

On the whole, China’s adoption of mobile payments is much higher than Europe’s, as consumers use Alipay in all their daily lives – not just shopping, for example, paying for utility bills, paying for cabs, booking tickets, etc. This is something we would like to bring to Europe, so our customers can benefit from Alipay outside China.

This interest became reality when Peng revealed the company’s new “Local Services Platform” that will launch in May. It will use geo-location to tell users what kind of shops and restaurants are in the area, how to get there and even what offers they can get.

As well as Europe, Alipay is looking to go deeper into Asia as Peng said the company is “actively looking” for partners and the funding will drive that strategy.

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