As Alibaba-affiliated financial services provider Ant Financial seeks to expand in markets in China and around the globe, the company has landed $4.5 billion in new funding that values it at a whopping $60 billion. The Series B investment is the largest ever private placement round for an Internet company, according to Ant, which plans to use the cash infusion to grow its operations in China’s rural areas and internationally. The company identified cloud computing and biometric verification as areas it’s seeking to develop further. Among the investors in the round include sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp., bank CCB Trust, insurer China Life and China Post Group.
Formed in October 2014 when it was spun off from Alibaba during the Chinese e-commerce giant’s record-breaking IPO, Ant Financial incudes payment businesses Alipay and Alipay Wallet, along with an online bank and a micro-loan provider. The company has an active user base of 450 million people and already has begun international expansion efforts. In September 2015, Ant joined with Alibaba to invest a reported $600 million in Indian mobile commerce platform Paytm. Ant has been reported to be planning an IPO of its own on both Chinese and foreign stock markets. The company had been valued at $45 billion during a previous funding round last year.
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