Ant Financial Services - the Alibaba affiliate that was formerly known as Alipay - has secured US$4.5 billion in the Series B of a private equity financing last week.
The amount raised is nearly double the US$2.7 billion fintech investments made in Asia Pacific region last quarter, Albert Chan, Accenture's Beijing-based Managing Director, told The South China Morning Post (SCMP).
He added that fintech investments in China will continue to lead globally this year due to the increasing demand for online financial services in the country, and the traditional banks' move to leverage fintech startups to streamline operations and drive new business growth.
"Increasingly, bankers and investors globally have been calling and asking, 'Let's learn more about the fintech industry in China?' The world has pivoted towards us to see what we're doing in mobile payments and other digital services," Chan told SCMP.
The growth of fintech will also be driven by initiatives by the Chinese government, Forrester Research analyst Charlie Dai told SCMP. "[China has identified] Internet finance as a focus area to help boost the economy. The government announced guidelines to facilitate development of internet finance in July last year, which led to the establishment this year of the China Internet Finance Association with 437 members from various sectors."
Established in October 2014, Ant Financial runs online bank MYBank, credit scoring service Sesame Credit, lending marketplace Zhao Cai Bao, mass-market investment vehicle Ant Fortune, and Yu'e Bao, China's largest money market fund.
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