How did Ant Financial become the hottest financial institution of our time, and what is its future?
1. More than fintech, Ant Financial is a Financial Technology Services company.
As we know, financial institutions are built on assets, while fintech companies focus on the philosophy, technology and data online. Ant Financial differs from both camps by positioning itself as an open fintech enterprise that has the attributes of a tech services provider.
For example, Ant Financial established a technical team dedicated to developing graph databases in 2015. The team successfully developed GeaBase (Graph Exploration and Analytics Database), a database with high performance, high availability, strong scalability, and excellent portability within 3 years.
GeaBase is a real-time, graph-based financial database independently developed by Ant Financial. Currently, GeaBase is not only widely used in the Ant Financial service ecosystem, but has also been commercialised and exported.
It’s worth noting that Ant Financial has already made a profit from technical services. Data shows that Ant Financial’s largest source of profit in 2015 was payment-related. However in 2017, the proportion of technical services revenue has risen to 34%. It is expected that by 2021, Ant Financial’s technical service income will rise to 65% of its total revenue, surpassing payment income as its largest revenue stream. This means Ant Financial will not only be a financial or payment company, but a technical service company.
2. Ant Financial is one of China’s truly global financial company.
Ant Financial had made globalisation a priority even before its listing. The company’s global strategy is to first allow Chinese users to use Alipay overseas, then provide e-wallet services to users abroad, and finally expand from payment to financial services, taking a global approach to business.
Ant Financial has formed alliances with local giants of different markets through investment. To date it has invested in Korean online bank K-Bank, brought Alipay to nine countries in Southeast Asia (Paytm in India, Emtek in Indonesia, GCash in the Philippines, AscendMoney in Thailand, Hellopay in Singapore, TNG in Malaysia, TMB in Pakistan, Bkash in Bangladesh). It also has strategic partnerships with Japan’s largest e-commerce platform Rakuten, American online payment company Stripe, European tax refund agency Swiss Global Blue, and South Korean giant Kakao.
3. Having a holistic business ecosystem
A look at Ant Financial’s past records, and you will see that it has made more than 66 investments in China between 2014 and 2018, covering cultural and entertainment, corporate services, finance, local lifestyle, automobile, transportation, education, real estate services etc. While Ant Financial finds ways to expand its own financial business, it is also keen on forming strategic partnerships. These companies that Ant Financial invested in have a good outlook of growth, and are expected to rake in handsome returns.
The close integration of Ant Financial into the Alibaba ecosystem also generates great synergy, providing Ant Financial huge opportunities to reach far beyond Chinese markets, and find success overseas.
Many are wondering if Ant Financial will surpass Alibaba. This is an interesting question. What do you think?
举个例子，蚂蚁金服在2015 年成立了专门研发图数据库的技术团队，3年内成功研发出具有高性能、高可用性、扩展能力强和极佳移植性的GeaBase （Graph Exploration and Analytics Database） 。
GeaBase 是蚂蚁金服完全自主研发的实时金融级分布式图数据库，目前，GeaBase 不仅广泛应用于蚂蚁金服的生态体系内，而且已经商业化和技术对外输出。
而蚂蚁金服早已从技术服务获得了利润，数据显示，蚂蚁金服在2015 年绝大的利润来源是支付相关收入，但2017 年时，技术服务的收入占比已大幅上升至34%，预计到2021 年蚂蚁金服的技术服务收入将上升至总收入的65%，超过支付收入成为第一大收入项。这也就意味着，蚂蚁金服将不会仅是单纯的金融或是支付公司，而是技术服务公司。
蚂蚁金服通过投资的方式与“地头蛇” 结盟，已投资韩国网际网路银行K-Bank，并在东南亚九国扶持本地支付宝钱包(印度Paytm、印尼Emtek、菲律宾GCash、泰国AscendMoney、新加坡Hellopay、马来西亚TNG、巴基斯坦TMB、孟加拉Bkash)，同时与日本最大电商平台乐天、美国在线支付公司Stripe、欧洲退税机构瑞士环球蓝联、韩国网际网路领军企业Kakao 战略合作。
翻开蚂蚁金服的资料，会看见从2014 年到2018 年间，蚂蚁金服在中国进行了超过66笔投资，覆盖了文化娱乐、企业服务、金融、本地生活、汽车交通、教育和房产服务等领域，蚂蚁一边给金融业务找场景，一边给开放战略找伙伴，给主战略服务。而且这些被投资公司具有成长的可能性，最终会获得很高的报酬。