Ant Financial Services Group seeks 2017 IPO

<p>The company runs online payment platform Alipay.</p>

Ant Financial Services Group, which runs China's most widely used online payment platform Alipay, is planning to raise up to $4 billion (£2.6 billion) in a private placement of shares and is looking at a domestic IPO in 2017, Shanghai Securities News reported.

Ant Financial is currently valued at between $35 billion and $40 billion. Around ten per cent of the company will be sold to strategic investors in the private placement, with candidates limited to firms backed by the Chinese government, the newspaper said.

Ant Financial's revenue soared 92 per cent to 10.2 billion yuan (around £1 billion) in 2014, with 2.6 billion yuan in net profit.

The announcement comes as Alipay claimed mobile transactions hit $640 million during the Chinese New Year celebrations this week. 

Chinese residents are increasingly sending money to their relatives or friends as greetings during Chinese New Year via their mobile phone through Alipay instead of sending paper cash.

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