At the World Economic Forum in Davos, the chief executive of Ant Financial, Eric Jing, announced that the company has ambitions to expand globally, and has set a goal of 2bn customers for the next decade.
Ant Financial — the finance arm of Chinese goliath Alibaba Group — is bang on course to achieve this, and here’s how.
With a current total of 450m active users of Ant’s Alipay payments platform in its home market the 2bn goal could appear unrealistic.
The slow adoption of other alternative payment platforms on the global market suggest this kind of target will be difficult to achieve.
But while Ant Financial’s target might seem ambitious, its recent moves provide an indication as to how it intends to succeed.
Growth through acquisitions, a focus on its fast-growing domestic payment market, and targeting underserved segments are the key elements of its strategy.
Ant Financial acquired Paytm in India and Lazada in Southeast Asia recently. And a few weeks after Jing announced Ant Financial’s plans the company sealed an $880m deal to buy MoneyGram International.
Although the acquisition will need approval from US regulators, it demonstrates the scope of Ant Financial’s global ambitions.
Another pattern is that, rather than going after developed markets, Ant Financial is focusing on underserved consumers.
This is a very different strategy from the likes of Apple Pay, where users need an iPhone and a payments infrastructure already in place.
The underserved part of the global population is still massive.
By targeting it Ant Financial is aiming Alipay at a much bigger audience.