Alibaba Group co-founder and chairman Jack Ma said yesterday the company is looking at listing its Ant Financial Services Group on a stock market in China.
Without giving a timeframe, Ma (pictured) said the unit “will definitely go public”, Reuters reported.
Alibaba is the largest e-commerce site in the world and in September raised $25 billion in its US IPO. It is also the largest online payment company in China.
Alipay, a unit of Ant Financial Services, is the payment method of choice on Alibaba’s e-commerce site and China’s leading online payment processor. Alipay settled CNY4.82 trillion ($784 billion) in transactions in the first half of the year and is seen as one of Alibaba’s most valuable assets.
Reuters said that Alibaba, according to an agreement detailed in its IPO prospectus, shares 37.5 per cent of the unit’s profit or can take a direct stake in it. An IPO would have to value Ant Financial at a minimum of $25 billion.
Meanwhile an Alibaba e-commerce executive also said earlier this week it was open to working with PayPal to allow it to expand globally, Bloomberg reported. PayPal is owned by eBay, which announced in September plans to spin off the unit in the second half of next year.
In late October at an event in California, Ma expressed interest in a possible partnership between Alipay and Apple Pay. Apple CEO Tim Cook, who was also at the event, said he planned to meet with Ma the next week to discuss a potential partnership.