Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has folded six different businesses into a single business unit as part of a concerted push into the financial services industry.
The six subsidiary companies comprise Alipay and Alipay Wallet, Yu'e Bao, a money market fund with 570 billion yuan ($93 billion) under management; Zhao Cai Bao, a third-party financial services platform; micro-loan provider Ant Micro; and MYBank, a private bank.
Fresh from a successful multi-billion dollar IPO, Alibaba has made no secret of its intentions to disrupt the traditional finances services industry through the use of Web technology. The MYBank unit was set up after the company successfully applied for a banking license from Chinese authorities in September, while Alipay is recognised as a powerhouse in online payment processing.
Alipay was spun out of Alibaba in 2011 and was not a part of the IPO, although it is acknowledged as one of the company's most valuable assets. It currently clears 80 million transactions per day, including 45 million transactions through its Alipay Wallet mobile app.
The rebranded business roll-up has been re-named as Ant Financial, to symbolise the ability of smaller entitites to work together towards a common goal.
The various business operations of Ant Financial are supported by cloud computing, big data and credit systems. The company says it will open up these supporting platforms to partners to create a new financial ecosystem.
Ant Financial CFO Eric Jing says: "In the future, the financial ecosystem will be characterised by collaboration rather than competition. Like Alibaba's ecosystem in the e-commerce industry, a similar ecosystem will emerge in the financial industry. This ecosystem will be supported by cloud computing, big data and credit systems that enable payment, financing, wealth management, insurance and banking platforms and services. We believe that Ant Financial will play a key role in leading the development of this ecosystem for the benefit of small and micro enterprises and individual consumers."