A couple months ago, it was reported that China’s Ant Financial was looking to raise $9 billion in a private funding round. Well, the money’s in now, and the total for this Series C round is a whopping $14 billion.
The round gives the Jack Ma-controlled company a valuation of $150 billion, which doesn’t just make it the most valuable privately-held tech firm in the world—the second-most-valuable, Uber, is worth around $70 billion—it even makes the Alibaba payment affiliate more valuable than financial veterans American Express (which has a market cap of $87 billion), Goldman Sachs ($88 billion), and Morgan Stanley ($92 billion.)
The 14-year-old Ant administers the Alipay platform and used to be part of Jack Ma’s Alibaba—now it’s likely to have its own IPO. It raised the Series C cash in two tranches: around $3 billion denominated in renminbi, taking in existing investors, and the rest denominated in U.S. dollars, with new investors including the likes of Warburg Pincus, Silver Lake, Temasek and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
The money will be used for international expansion, and for further investment in Ant’s technology—think blockchain, Internet of things, artificial intelligence and so on. Alipay doesn’t just offer easy payments online and in person; it has also branched out into other financial services such as loans. It’s biggest rival back home is Tencent’s WeChat.
“We are dedicated to building an open ecosystem with all our partners in China and beyond,” said CEO and executive chairman Eric Jing. “We will continue to invest in technology and innovation in order to serve unmet financial needs of people everywhere and to enable them to benefit from the development of the digital economy.”
Ant Financial’s technology was used by around 870 million people in the year up to the end of March, the company said. That figure is largely derived from those who use Alipay, with the rest coming from payment services in other countries that also rely on Ant Financial’s platform, mostly across South and East Asia.
According to the Financial Times, Ant is expected to make a net profit of $2.33 billion this year.