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The firm behind Alipay seeks $1.5B as it creeps closer to IPO.

By NexChange

Ant Financial, the finance arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba that runs payments platform Alipay, could well be on its way to going public in 2016 as it seeks funds for a pre-IPO round.

Bloomberg reports that it’s looking to raise $1.5 billlion. This comes just months after it raised $4 billion in its first private round that was said to value the business at $45 billion.

To put that into perspective, U.S.-based payments platform Square, which listed in November, was valued at around $6 billion at its last private round. It now has a market cap of around $3.8 billion.

But Ant Financial is no Square.  Alipay is currently the biggest online payments service in potentially the world’s largest market.

The behemoth is now expected to move into acquisition mode, using new capital to snap up other Asian fintech players as it grows. It has already grabbed shares in Post Savings Bank of China and India’s One97 Communications.

However, 2016 is likely to be busy year for Alipay as other large fish — in the shape of tech giants Apple and Samsung — drift into China with their own payments platform.

Photo: Roxanne Tamayo

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