$5.5BN: The biggest funding round in history

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A Chinese fintech company that is partly owned by the chairman of e-commerce giant Alibaba has raised a $US4.5 billion ($5.8 billion) funding round — breaking records in the process, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Ant Financial raised the round at a $US60 billion ($77 billion) valuation.

Alibaba chairman Jack Ma is Ant’s largest stakeholder, according to The Financial Times, but Alibaba does not formally own any shares in the company.

Ant Financial, which operates China’s largest online-payments platform, Alipay, raised the money from a range of investors, including $US740 billion ($956 billion) Chinese sovereign-wealth fund China Investment Corp (CIC) and some of China’s biggest insurers, such as China Life, China Post Group, China Development Bank Capital and Primavera Capital Group.

The Financial Times reported that the funding round was in the process of being raised back at the start of March.

Ant Financial offers online wealth management and banking services in addition to its core Alipay product, which is used to process payments across all of Alibaba’s sites.

Spun out of Alibaba in 2014, Ant Financial claims to reach 450 million users in China, according to TechCrunch. Many of those customers are reportedly found across rural China, where access to financial services have traditionally been harder to come by.

Cyril Han, Ant Financial’s vice president, told The Wall Street Journal that Ant Financial is planning a public listing, although he didn’t give a timeframe for this.

The investment is the largest private fundraising round for any internet company, The Wall Street Journal reports. The title was previously held by another Chinese firm called Meituan-Dianping, which has a platform that facilitates movie ticket selling and restaurant bookings.

For the sake of comparison, Uber’s largest funding round is $US2 billion, while Airbnb’s is $US1.5 billion.

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