Alibaba affiliate invests in rural-focused bank

Xinhua News Agency


The microfinance arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has become the latest big-name investor in Postal Savings Bank of China (PSBC), a commercial bank chasing an IPO.

Ant Financial Services Group announced the undisclosed investment on Wednesday, saying it hoped the deal would help it tap the rural financial market. PSBC has the largest network in China's countryside.

Ant Financial was already providing PSBC with assistance in quick payments, small business loans, big data analysis and cloud computing.

The Alibaba affiliate said it has served more than 60 million rural customers and provided 140 billion yuan (22 billion U.S. dollars) for 680,000 small enterprises in rural areas through its affiliate Alipay, China's largest online payment platform.

Ant Financial is the 10th high-profile backer of PSBC, joining a group including J.P. Morgan, UBS Group AG, China Life Insurance, China Telecom, and Chinese Internet company Tencent.

PSBC is aiming for an IPO in Hong Kong next year, it said on Wednesday.