Alibaba Holdings Ltd., China’s leading e-commerce company, has set up a micro finance arm in a fresh move to expand its footprint in the financial business, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Friday.
Peng Lei, chief executive officer of the newly established vehicle Ant Financial Services Group, said the company seeks to attract small-scale business owners and banks to join the platform.
Commenting on market talk that Ant Financial may seek listing on the Growth Enterprise Market board in Shenzhen, Peng said there is yet no specific timetable for such a move.
Preparations are under way for the new arm to integrate Alibaba’s operations in the financial space, including Alipay, Yuebao, Zhaocaibao, micro-lending as well as online banking, the report said.
Peng also revealed that the company is planning to add social networking services for Alipay to better compete with rival Tencent’s WeChat mobile payment service.
At the end of 2013, Alipay had 300 million users, including 190 million active users of its mobile purse application, accounting for 80 percent of the market, Peng was quoted as saying.
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