There is nothing ant-like in these numbers. Yes, Alibaba’s affiliate fintech company, Ant Group (of Alipay), does generate more payment volume than Visa & Mastercard combined! Ant does $18 trillion while the American giants bring in $16 trillion. Ant operates primarily in China while Visa and Mastercard run around the world!
Started as Alipay in 2004, Ant Group has transformed from a digital payments company for Alibaba to an aggregator of financial services. Today, the group’s lending, wealth management, and insurance offerings count for 63% of its revenue. In the first half of this year, a further shift in revenue generation saw the credit business surpassing payments for the first time ever. […]
Ant’s prospectus, for its dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong, states that “we call ourselves Ant because we believe that small is beautiful, small is powerful”, but if the company can keep this pace up, it will be marching on to a valuation more closely resembling an army of unicorns as opposed to anything reminiscent of its name. (source: Fintech Collective newsletter)
Here is how Fintech Collective explained what is happening:
Today, Ant is aiming for a valuation of $200b to $300b in a dual-listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai, although meetings with investors are still ongoing. It still dominates mobile payments in China, but instead of competing with the financial sector, it has become a digital supermarket of others’ offerings, letting users buy on credit, invest in mutual funds, and find insurance through established players. It has even changed its name, from Ant Financial to Ant Group, to emphasize that it is a tech, rather than a financial services, company.
Ant’s evolution into the Alibaba of finance has been fueled by a desire to claw back customers who began using WeChat more as it broadened out from a messaging service to an online platform for services of all sorts — including mobile payments. More than 90% of Alipay’s 1b users now access the app for more than just payments.
Once people were using Alipay to stash their cash and pay for online purchases, Ant could begin offering them other kinds of services through the app, including personal loans and insurance policies. Alipay says it has 900m users in China.