From Insect to Immense: Why Ant Financial is so Massive

Dhanum Nursigadoo
5min read

China’s currently the second biggest hub for fintech in the world. In 2018 the nation managed to secure $15.1BN in funding for fintechs. A great deal of that reputation for success is down to the power and growth of Ant Financial.

Ant Financial is taking over. It’s hard to believe that last year the tech giant (formerly described as a fintech startup, but come on they’re way too big now) handled more payments than MasterCard. China’s dominance of the payments market has been a long time coming. Just a few months ago they were, and still are, positioned to become one of the most valuable financial companies in the world.
It’s an insane rise in terms of what they’ve done - David M. Brear
The latest round of funding gave Ant Financial a $150BN valuation after they raised $14BN, closing on double the value of Goldman Sachs’ $88BN. So what does it mean for a ‘fintech startup’ to be reaching such high levels of value? For one thing, like I mentioned above, it’s not really a startup anymore. Ant Financial are a major player in the market. They may have gotten a legup from their affiliation with Alibaba and Alipay, but since 2014 Jack Ma’s tiny startup has gone from insect to immense.
They have tentacles reaching far and wide - Sarah Kocianski
More than 620M people use Alipay, tens of millions of people have received loans, and Ant Financial completed more than $8 TRILLION of transactions in 2017. That’s more than double Germany’s GDP.

Growth Limitations

However, this growth isn’t without pushback. The Chinese government is now concerned about the scale of Ant Financial and have actively attempted to limit their activity. The government has prevented the tech giants’ credit scoring system and the vice-governor of China’s central bank recently warned that more regulation may soon be coming to payments services no matter their size. One factor inhibiting Ant Financial from growing even bigger are their overseas challenges. Attempts to grow in the USA have been blocked by US regulators who are wary of a Chinese company controlling the financial data of US customers. Having become too big to be ignored at home in China and too big to be allowed in abroad, the question remains as to where Ant Financial will progress to in the future. This week we had a great show as per usual with some really fun discussions on a lot of key stories in the fintech space. David M. Brear Ross Gallagher and Sarah Kocianski sit down with our guests Diana Paredes and Sian Lewin to discuss all the latest fintech news, and with two regtech experts visiting we have some amazing analytical insights. You can catch the full Fintech Insider discussion on the news today on the podcast here (go subscribe now, why are you waiting? You know you need to know this stuff asap).