After raising $14 Billion in a Series C round funding, Ant Financial, the payment affiliate of Chinese internet titan Alibaba announced they will use the funding to further develop new technologies including blockchain.
Founded in 2004 and known as AliPay before rebranding to Ant Financial in 2014, the Alibaba affiliate has the goal of offering inclusive financial services to the underbaked sector.
The announcement says that the new equity financing will be funneled towards the development of Ant Financial’s technological capacity in artificial intelligence and the internet of things, as well as blockchain tech.
While Ant Financial has yet to unveil a roadmap of its proposed blockchain development plans, this announcement is huge, given AliPay’s status as one of the biggest payment providers in China, with 800 million active users last year.
The announcement also comes on the heels of a report that indicates a pivot towards technology services for the firm.
According to a Reuters report on Tuesday, while the Chinese government continues its crackdown on perceived risks to the financial sector, Ant Financial is shifting focus away from consumer financial services to technology development. The report indicates that blockchain is one such focus.
Both Ant Financial and Alibaba have already started blockchain-related projects. Ant Financial expanded support for its blockchain-based charity platform, while Alibaba started a pilot of a blockchain Food Trust Framework that is designed to track international shipments.
The CEO of Ant Financial, Eric Jing said in a statement this March that, while the company has ruled out an ICO, they will continue with their blockchain development project, with additional focus on compatibility with other blockchains