China’s Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial is drumming up $1 billion to fund startups in Southeast Asia and India, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday (Nov. 26) citing a source.
Jack Ma’s FinTech firm has its eye on new companies in emerging markets that focus on payments and online financing, the source said, confirming a DealStreet Asia report.
At the Beijing 2019 Global Young Entrepreneurs Conference on Tuesday, Ji Gang, vice president of Ant Financial, told those in attendance that his company was “looking to raise a fund” but didn’t mention details, according to a blog post by the conference organizers.
At the conference, Gang outlined the three types of companies Ant seeks to fund. He said the company goes after mature firms with C funding, companies with “a relatively high valuation” and early startups it can finance with cooperation.
Ant has said in the past that it is planning to obtain a virtual banking license in Singapore. Over the past five years, the Chinese company has invested in 160 companies, including India’s largest mobile payment company Paytm. As of June, Ant Financial and its local eWallet partners had approximately 1.2 billion users worldwide.
Ant’s investment efforts are strategic and align with expansion efforts. The company wants to up its customer base to 2 billion over the next decade and significantly grow its users outside of China, according to TechNode. Asia’s growth potential is an important focus.
Last month, Ant was in talks to lead a $600 million funding round for the Indian delivery startup Zomato. Revenue at Zomato this week was reported at $205 million for the first half of the 2020 financial year, an increase of 225 percent from the same time last year. The company also reported that its losses went down 40 percent from March to September.
Ant’s biggest rival Tencent is also trying to build a presence in India. The B2B eCommerce platform Udaan recently raised $585 million from a group that included a company based in Shenzhen. Tencent, however, has been pursuing smaller partnerships after it tried unsuccessfully to purchase Flipkart for $8 billion.