Alibaba, fintech & techfin

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In late June Chinese behemoth Alibaba said its revenue for the year ahead would increase by just less than 50 per cent. The following day the market added $US42.25 billion to its value – a figure roughly equivalent to the size of Barclays Bank.

Alibaba is essentially a technology company described by some as ‘a big-data conglomerate’. The company’s vertically and horizontally integrated services include online shopping, music streaming, photo sharing, logistics, news and finance – all of which contribute information on customer spending, locations and viewing.

This data is collected, collated and fed back to the merchants who use Alibaba’s ecommerce platforms, enabling them to better target customers.

“Techfins see data as not just something to help grow their business but as the core of their business.” -Steve Worthington

In 2014, Alibaba created Ant Financial, a financial services arm. In the year ending March 2017 its pre-tax profits rose by 86 per cent to $US814 million. Through its payment platform Alipay, Ant Financial now commands more than half of China’s $US5.5 trillion mobile payments market.

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Steve Worthington is a Visiting Professor at the Business Research Institute

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