Alibaba’s finance affiliate known as Ant Financial, controlled by founder Jack Ma and separate from the publicly traded BABA, has raised money at a more than $40 billion valuation, Bloomberg reported today.
The news comes just before Ant’s online bank MYBank is scheduled to open this month, six months after rival Tencent’s WeBank became China’s first online bank.
Ma famously spun off Ant Financial from Alibaba back in 2011 without telling Alibaba’s largest shareholders Yahoo and Japan’s SoftBank, who were rightly outraged at the power grab. Ma later explained that foreign ownership restrictions in China led him to make the move. Alibaba’s IPO filings last year confirmed that Alibaba is entitled to about a third of Ant Financial’s shares or a one-time payment equal to more than a third of the equity value.
Ant’s business includes money market funds, but its crown jewel is Alipay, the Paypal-like online payments service that controls 80% of the $1 trillion mobile payments market in China and used for everything from paying for cabs to shopping on Taobao.com.