SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba, is in negotiations for funding that have reached a “critical stage” and value the company at $30 billion (£19.6 billion), news magazine Caixin reported on Monday.
The report cited unidentified sources as saying China’s state-backed social security fund, Postal Savings Bank of China, and CDB Capital, an investment arm of China Development Bank, would be among the strategic investors in discussions for stakes of 5 percent, 3 percent and 3 percent respectively.
Alibaba spokeswoman Teresa Li, speaking on behalf of Ant Financial, said the company did not comment on market rumours or speculation as a matter of policy.
The three firms named as strategic investors could not immediately be reached for comment.
Ant Financial runs Alipay, China’s most widely used online payment platform and which is seen as a crucial part of Alibaba’s business.
Ant Financial is controlled by Alibaba’s Executive Chairman Jack Ma and other senior Alibaba executives, after the company announced in 2011 it had spun off Alipay from the rest of the firm.
Total payment volume over Alipay was $778 billion in the 12 months ended June 30, 2014. In the same period, 78.1 percent of Alibaba’s gross merchandise volume, the total value of goods ordered, on its China retail marketplaces was settled through Alipay.
As part of an August agreement between Alibaba and Ant Financial, Alibaba shares 37.5 percent of the unit’s profit or can in the future take a direct stake in it.
Ma has said on several occasions he plans to eventually list Ant Financial. Last week, he told reporters there was no timetable yet for the IPO and it was not determined where the listing would happen, although he has been eyeing Asia as a location.
Alibaba held its own record-breaking $25 billion initial public offering in September.
Reporting by John Ruwitch; Additional reporting by Beijing Newsroom and Engan Tham in SHANGHAI; Editing by Miral Fahmy