Ant Financial, formerly known as Alipay, has become a fast-moving company that is expanding non-stop. Today in Huangzhou China I visited Ant Financial. When you enter the lobby there is an ant beating a drum. Behind him a marching army and a tank. And you better believe they take the tank serious as their mission is to become the dominant global mobile wallet. They already are dominant in China with 450 million users divided into four tiers (see below) and they want to serve 2 billion people in 2025! I think they might succeed. The technology and services are impressive. They really are.
Alipay, the dominant paying platform is everywhere here in Beijng and Shanghai. It is superfast, it has everything in one. On PC’s we buried the dream of a “portal” years ago. But that was before mobile, and before Ant introduced Alipay. You can grocery shop, order taxis, train tickets, concert tickets, vacations, transfer money, save money, get a mortgage in 3 (!) minutes and dozens of other things in this one app.
It is also the main advertising platform here. Not social. No, ecommerce and this payment platform are where advertisers want to be. Because you just need this one SuperApp. It will do suggestions in your geographical area, also if you travel. I understand why advertisers want to pay for that.
The list really goes on and on. Ant financial, a subsidiary of Alibaba does insurance, credit ratings of consumers, loans to farmers. The company is expanding to several markets in Asia with acquisitions.
In Europe and the US they start to put shops and restaurants on their payment system for Chinese tourists. Those in the west without a Chinese bank account cannot activate the app yet, but I assure you it will blow your mind.
As a (consumer) bank in Europe or the US, I would be really worried. As a consumer, I cannot wait for this to come to us.