Ant Financial, the payment affiliate of Alibaba, has claimed that its number of daily active users doubled in 2016.
So far, the company has not yet disclosed data about the total number of active daily users, but it has reported that over 450 million people use its Alipay service for payments and various financial services like wealth management and insurance.
Launched in 2004, Alipay provides payment services for Alibaba’s ecommerce platform. Currently, it controls 54% of the total market shares, but competitor Tencent has made significant advances in 2016 to secure a wider market share. Now, Tenctent’s WeixinPay has a 37% market share.
Both competitors have expanded their payment services to physical stores. Tencent said that 29% of all in-store Starbucks purchases in mainland China were made through WeixinPay. In a similar move, Ant Financial managed to sign a deal with First Data that could give the company access to a potential 4.5 million merchants in the US. Similar agreements have also been signed in Europe with Ingenico and BNP.
The market has been expecting on an IPO from Ant, valued at USD 60billion at its last funding round in 2016, but it is currently off the agenda, at least until the end of 2018, the Financial Times reported.