Tuesday, August 14

China’s AI juggernaut Ant Financial inks raft of deals

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Alibaba subsidiary Ant Financial signed agreements with three banks while its Alipay spare cash fund, Yu’e Bao, added more money market funds.

Ant Financial has been described as “secretly an AI company” by MIT Technology Review and is probably best known for its mobile payment services Alipay.

Some 400 million Yu’e Bao users generate returns on their spare cash, and the platform is now the world’s biggest money market fund. Net assets surged to ¥1.7 trillion ($263.3 billion) in the first quarter, up 40% year-on-year, according to SCMP.

Two new third-party MMFs managed by Bosera Asset Management Zhong Ou Asset Management will be integrated alongside the platform’s one existing money market fund, managed by Tianhong Asset Management.

Banks and more banks

In a statement announcing a tie-up with Shanghai Pudong Development bank, Ant said it will partner in online risk management.

That includes fraud prevention and technological support for loan, transaction and marketing fraud using financial-grade technologies in AI, supply chain finance, biometric identification and risk management.

Ant Financial and SPD Bank also plan to tackle inclusive finance initiatives, from improving user experience while making online and offline payments to services for small and micro businesses.

The agreement is the third of its kind announced this month, following partnerships with Huaxia Bank and China Everbright Bank.

Ant Financial’s consumer finance service Huabei also announced it is seeking partnerships but did not provide details.

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