23 Jun, 2017 Alibaba’s finance arm Ant Financial is seeing skyrocketing profits thanks to global expansion
Ant Financial, the online finance arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has nearly doubled its pretax profits in fiscal 2017, according to Bloomberg estimates. The company saw an 86% jump to $814 million, likely thanks to its global efforts — Ant has invested billions in overseas expansion.
As a result of these investments, the financial services company hasn’t only boosted the acceptance of its popular mobile wallet Alipay, but it’s poised itself for continued growth.
Ant has significantly invested in expanding its international presence.
Ant has entered major partnerships across the globe to give Alipay users more opportunities to use the mobile wallet while traveling. In the last year alone, Ant partnered with payments players in Europe, the US, Australia, and Asia. This has likely led to significant increases in payment volume — for context, Chinese tourists spent $215 billion abroad in 2015, a 53% increase from the $165 billion spent the previous year, according to CNBC.
The company is still in the process of completing its biggest deal, which will likely help it grow for years to come. Ant acquired legacy remittance company MoneyGram for about $1.2 billion in a deal that’s expected to be finalized in the second half of 2017. This acquisition is a key to Ant reaching its goal of deriving 60% of its transaction volume from outside of China by 2026 — MoneyGram’s massive network includes 2.4 billion bank and mobile accounts.
After focusing on investments and expansion for most of 2016 and the first half of 2017, Ant could be primed for an IPO. In October, a source told Fortune that Ant was focused on growing its Alipay user base, which is currently over 450 million, before entertaining an IPO. However, given how much success Ant has seen in 2016, its not unreasonable to assume the company could IPO within the next year.