Digital financial services giant Ant Group is on the cusp of pulling off the world's biggest initial public offering and could be worth over US$500 billion (S$681 billion) in the near future, riding on the digitisation of financial services in the world's second-largest economy. Hangzhou-headquartered Ant's coming out parade illustrates China's lead in digital finance. Its super-slick mobile payment app, Alipay, has over 1 billion users, making it the world's most popular app outside social-media networks. Ant's payments network is just the gateway, funnelling small businesses and consumers into a broad financial ecosystem spanning lending, investment and insurance services. The world's most valuable privately owned company is also developing services to make daily life easier. Consumers can click on the Alipay app for services ranging from food deliveries to garbage collection. The system's cogs are oiled by a trove of data gathered in China, the world's most populous country, which makes pricing more accurate and efficient than at traditional banks. Ant plans to plough the US$34.5 billion it is raising from dual listings in Hong Kong and Shanghai into future revenue drivers, such as blockchain, growth outside China and merchant services. ALSO READ: Smooth succession: Jack Ma eases out of… Read full this story
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