Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ant Financial, the Alibaba affiliate that operates Alipay, raises $4.5B at a $60B valuation

Ant Financial, the Alibaba affiliate that runs Alipay and other financial services in China, has announced a truly huge round of funding today. The company said it has completed its Series B, which weighs in at a staggering $4.5 billion.
The Wall Street Journal previously reported that the company was raising new funding at a valuation of up to $60 billion, and we understand this is the valuation for the deal. Last year’s undisclosed Series A valued the firm at $45-50 billion.
This round is the largest investment in a tech company to date, surpassing the $3 billion that Didi Kuaidi, China’s homegrown rival to Uber, brought in from investors last summer by some margin. No ordinary round of financing, for sure, but then again Ant Financial is hardly a normal company by any stretch of the definition.
Ant Financial was created in December 2014 when it was spun out of Alibaba before the e-commerce giant went public in the U.S. with a record IPO in September 2014. The company has very much piggy-backed on Alibaba’s vast e-commerce empire — which pulled in $5.3 billion in revenue during the last quarter of business — since then.
It offers a range of financial services, most prominent of which is Alipay — China’s most popular online payment service, used to process payments on Alibaba’s sites — but its portfolio also includes a micro-loans program and Alibaba’s digital bank, MyBank.
All told, it claims to reach 450 million users, most of whom likely interact with Alipay, but Ant Financial puts focus on enabling people in remote areas who have limited access to traditional financial services. It says its “payment, insurance and wealth management services” reach 140 million people in rural China, while MyBank has dished out 20 million loans to SMEs and entrepreneurs.
Beyond China, Ant Financial has moved into India via its investment in Paytm, an e-commerce and payments player that Alibaba has also invested in. Ant Financial said that at the turn of 2016, Paytm had 122 million users and was processing 52 million transactions a month, a number that has grown 230 percent year-on-year.
Ant Financial is tipped to go public in the not-too-distant future. A company representative declined our questions on when and where an IPO might take place, but vice president Cyril Han told the Wall Street Journal that he hopes to list “in both domestic and offshore stock exchanges” in the future.
This could be the last chance for investors to get in on the action privately, so it’s notable that Ant Financial summoned some big names with plenty of strategic value for this record round. Sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp (CIC) and CCB Trust, a subsidiary of China Construction Bank, joined as new investors, while insurance firms, including China Life, China Post Group, China Development Bank Capital and Primavera Capital Group returned as existing backers.
Ant Financial said that it will work with CIC to expand its footprint overseas “to provide equal access to financial services globally.” You can bet that this growth will be in tandem with Alibaba, which is increasing looking at new growth opportunities outside of China.

MBA Capital Limited Post Alipay Owner to Start Shanghai IPO Process as Soon as 2016

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s finance affiliate is planning an initial public offering on Shanghai’s main board in what could be China’s highest IPO valuation since 2010, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group Co. has been profitable for three years, enabling it to meet the listing requirements, and may begin the process as soon as this year, the people said, requesting not to be named because the matter is private. The owner of Alipay, China’s most popular payments system, prefers a dual listing with Hong Kong if it gets regulatory approval, the people said.
Ant Financial, which is controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, dominates payments on China’s biggest e-commerce platforms through Alipay and also manages Yu’E Bao, the nation’s largest money-market fund. The company is currently targeting a private round of fundraising for at least $3.5 billion at a valuation of about $60 billion, people familiar with the matter said in April.
Alipay, one of the more recognizable names in online finance and consumer payments, would be the largest Web player by far on mainland bourses.
“China doesn’t have an Internet company of this scale and influence, so it could enjoy a significant premium in value if it lists in the country,” said Li Muzhi, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Arete Research Services LLP. “A lot of the potential retail investors are also Ant Financial’s users.”
Ant Financial declined to comment in an e-mailed statement.
China’s stock listing rules require companies to be profitable for at least three years and accumulate a profit of more than 30 million yuan ($4.6 million). The entities also need to generate accumulated cash flow of at least 50 million yuan, or post a total of 300 million yuan for revenue in the latest three years, according to the regulations.
Ant Financial meets those measures, said the people, who have direct knowledge of its earnings. The people didn’t say how much the company would seek to raise or what valuation it would have at listing.
An IPO at a $60 billion valuation would be the biggest on the mainland since Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. listed in Shanghai in 2010.
Ma, China’s second-richest man according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, said last year he was open to a Hong Kong listing if regulators welcomed it. Alibaba’s own plans to list in Hong Kong in 2014 were derailed because the city wouldn’t waive a ban on multiple share-class structures and the e-commerce operator instead held a record IPO in New York.
Alibaba is entitled to a stake of about one-third of Ant Financial with regulatory approval, according to a 2014 filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Alibaba has perpetual rights to 37.5 percent of the finance arm’s pretax earnings until it acquires the stake, the filing said.
Ant Financial paid Alibaba 502 million yuan in the December quarter, compared with 411 million yuan a year earlier, according to an Alibaba filing. That implies Ant Financial had pretax profit of at least 1.3 billion yuan for the period. The company posted net income of 333 million yuan in 2011, according to filings from the local branch of the State Administration for Industry & Commerce.
“As for Alibaba, unless it gets approval to buy the one-third stake in Ant, investors have already factored in the profit-sharing benefits it’s receiving,” Arete’s Li said.
An alternative option would be for Alibaba to receive a one-time payment equivalent to 37.5 percent of the value of Ant Financial determined prior to its IPO, which would amount to at least $22.5 billion based on its current valuation.
The agreement was brokered after a dispute between Alibaba and Yahoo! Inc. in 2011. At the time, Alibaba transferred Alipay into an entity that was controlled by Ma, citing concerns that it wouldn’t be permitted to conduct business in China while it had foreign ownership.
Ant Financial has evolved from an outsider in an industry that needed “stirring up,” as Ma described two years ago, to an online giant now working with the largest state-owned players. The country’s sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp. and an investment vehicle of China Construction Bank Corp. are leading its latest round of fundraising, people have said. Ant Financial also counts the national social security fund as a backer.
Ant Financial’s micro lending business handled about 30 billion yuan of loans in January. More than 200 million users buy financial products through Ant Financial via services including Yu’E Bao and Zhao Cai Bao, a platform that lets small businesses and individuals borrow from investors, the company said in August.
JD.com Inc., Alibaba’s largest competitor, said its finance unit raised 6.65 billion yuan in January, according to an announcement.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

MBA Capital Limited Share Post Alipay to Expand into European Markets

Alibaba has announced plans to launch its Alipay mobile payment service in Europe this summer.
CRI's Victor Ning has the details.
 Alibaba has announced the planned European launch of Alipay at the just-concluded financial services event Money 20/20 in Copenhagen.
Beginning this summer, users will be able to make payments through the Alipay app in France, Germany, Italy and the UK.
Lu Jun with Alibaba says in addition to serving as a payment option, Alipay can also help Chinese tourists plan their trips while abroad.
"Before when people traveled aboard, they usually had a hard time finding local points of interest. Now when they open Alipay, they can easily find recommendations on restaurants, sights and other places to visit. While shopping, they can also use Alipay to make payments, or even receive discounts. The vendors can also use Alipay to promote themselves and reach more Chinese customers."
Alibaba hasn't said which local businesses in Europe will accept Alipay, as negotiations are still underway.
The move marks Alipay's biggest expansion out of Asia so far.
Alibaba started moving Alipay into the global market in 2014.
It's now available for use at some 60-thousand businesses outside the Chinese mainland.
Lu Jun says Alipay has already built an impressive network in Asia.
"In South Korea alone, around 30,000 shops and businesses accept Alipay. In Seoul's famous Myeongdong commercial district, most vendors now accept the app. In Japan, our partners include a number of large shopping malls, electronics and appliance stores, as well as convenience stores like 7-Elevens. We also work with some duty-free shops in Thailand, and the Universal Studios theme parks in Singapore. "
Alibaba expects a total of one-million vendors outside the mainland to begin accepting Alipay within the next three years.
The company is ramping up its services outside the mainland to try to keep up with the growing number of Chinese people travelling abroad.
Last year, around 120 million Chinese traveled to foreign destinations.
The World Travel & Tourism Council estimates Chinese tourists spent around 215 billion US dollars abroad, doubling their spending from the year before.
Alipay is launching in Europe in partnership with Wirecard, an IT provider for payment processing.
Wirecard Executive Vice President Susanne Steidl says mobile payments have a bright future.
"Everything is focusing on a mobile phone. All additional gadgets will be reduced. No more cameras, and in the future, also no more credit cards, no more cash. All will be focused within the mobile phone, which is more convenient for the customer; it's safer for the customers. And it gives more transparency to the customer because he sees all the transactions and his available money, all on his phone, without having to logon to 20 different websites. "
Alibaba says its payment app currently processes 170 million transactions per day worldwide.
For CRI, I'm Victor Ning.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

MBA Capital Limited discusses gold investing.

MBACapital Limited is one of the top Hong Kong Finance companies. June Branch, Senior Analyst at MBA weighs in on gold prices. Now that gold is on every one’s mind. The price of gold is always a hot topic. This precious metal is not only aesthetically desirable, but monetarily valuable–especially in recent years. But does gold make a good investment or is it a waste of time and money? How has it performed domestically and globally?

U.S. and Global Gold Resources

There are 33 tons of gold in the United States, but only 15 tons of that has been found. That leaves 18 tons of undiscovered gold waiting to be mined in this country alone.
On a global scale, the demand for gold jewelry has risen 34% year on year, while the demand for investment has fallen 37%. The current volume demand is 17% below what it was in Q2 2010, but that doesn’t mean it’s negligible–current demand of gold jewelry is 442 tonnes, while demand for raw gold is more than double that .

Mrs. Branch believes that investing in gold is a great hedge along with other securities that you should hold in your portfolio. An even balance so to speak. Based on a client’s needs we can find the right balance. Come see us at MBA Capital “we’re here to help”.

MBA Capital Limited

Sunday, March 20, 2016

MBA Capital Limited - Alibaba

Alibaba to Train a Million Teenagers in Rural China: Report

Alibaba plans to train a million teenagers in rural China to help start their own online businesses, taking e-commerce to the country's vast rural areas, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.
China's biggest e-commerce company reached an agreement with the China Communist Youth League to support the youngsters through funding, training and partnership, Xinhua said.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's Internet finance arm Ant Financial plans to invest CNY 1 billion (roughly Rs. 1,036 crores) to support college graduates who want to return to their home towns to start businesses.
E-commerce, whose development is strongly backed by China's leadership, is spreading quickly in rural China with more farmers selling their produce online.
Premier Li Keqiang included e-commerce expansion when he laid out his "Internet Plus" strategy in an address last week at China's annual parliamentary meeting in Beijing.
In villages, service stations have been set to help those who lack the necessary skills to trade online. Villagers can order goods at the stations and then return a few days later to collect their packages, Xinhua said.
The number of these village hubs has risen from three in 2009 to 780, with plans to add another 100,000 village stations and 1,000 county stations by 2019 at a cost of around CNY 10 billion, Xinhua said.
Online sales in rural areas grew at double the pace of urban areas. Rural shoppers, who account for nearly one-third of the total, spent CNY 195 million online last year, Xinhua said.

© Thomson Reuters 2016


MBA Capital Limited Post On Tencent

Tencent Rips Advertising Page From Facebook

Online ads now make up nearly 20% of Chinese Internet company’s sales

The owner of China’s most popular social networks is moving a step forward in making money the Facebook way: advertising.
China’s Internet giant Tencent Holdings owns social networking services QQ, WeChat and Qzone, which all have more than 600 million of monthly active users. But until very recently, advertising contributed little to the company, unlike Facebook, which makes nearly all of its money from ads. Instead, Tencent’s major revenue source comes from user payments to play and enhance online games, which make up nearly half of its sales.

In the company’s results for last quarter, announced Wednesday, online games remained the biggest revenue contributor, growing 33% from a year ago. Total revenue for the whole company rose 45% last quarter to 30.4 billion yuan ($4.66 billion), a 10th higher than analysts’ estimates, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Adjusted earnings-per-share, up 28%, beat expectations only slightly, as costs rose.     READ MORE

MBA Capital Limited- Google Plus


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Ant Financial seeks US$3bn in funding

News in brief
MBA Capital Limited share news on Alipay.
Alipay parent Ant Financial is planning to raise up to 20bn yuan (US$3.1bn) in its current funding round at a valuation of more than $50bn, according to The Wall Street Journal. “The fresh funding will give the operator of popular Chinese online payments platform Alipay more financial muscle as it buys stakes in businesses ranging from a Chinese lottery company to China’s Postal Savings Bank,” the publication says. “It also sets the stage for Ant Financial’s future initial public offering — bankers expect it as early as 2017.”

Sunday, March 6, 2016

MBA Capital Limited HK - Our Corporate Executive


Corporate Executives

Our experienced team of advisors are very familiar with the needs and complex issues that arise when considering retirement.

Our Corporate Executive clients spend years focusing on their professional careers, but when it comes time to finally retire, they realize they may need some additional assistance with their personal finances. Our Corporate Executive retirement planning strategies include:
  • Requirements with holding specific amounts of company stock
  • Tax consequences of selling low cost-basis stock
  • NUA (Net Unrealized Appreciation) strategies for employer stock
  • Risks inherent in having a large concentration of wealth invested in one stock
  • Emotional attachments that executives have to their company stock
  • Employee stock options including ISO’s, NQO's
  • Pension plan options
  • Non-qualified plans
  • 401(k) and retirement plan allocations
  • Selling restrictions
  • 10(b)5-1 trading plan expertise

MBA Capital Limited has customized Executive Programs for you, including:
  • Tax-controlled diversification strategies
  • Hedging strategies
  • Covered call option strategies

We recognize that time is a valuable commodity, which is why our Corporate Executives avail themselves to our account aggregation services which bring stock options, 401k and retirement plan assets, company stock, investments, bank accounts, liabilities, credit cards rewards points together all on one website for tracking and easy viewing.
Our private vaulting services allows you to electronically store copies of contracts, wills and trusts, LLC’s, tax returns, insurance policies, digital pictures, copies of credit cards or passports, and more in order to keep them organized and at your fingertips.

MBA Capital’s Corporate Executive strategies help allow the wealth you have worked hard for your entire life to work for you so you can enjoy the retirement lifestyle you deserve.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

MBA Capital Limited HK Investment Strategy And Management

Our Investment Strategy And Management 

MBA Capital Limited offers an advisory investment management service to our clients. This means that any initial investment strategy or changes to your portfolio are always agreed with you before we implement the planning.

We follow a four part process:

Risk Profiling – with any investment portfolio it is important to manage it at the level of risk our clients are willing to take. Your Financial Planner will help you complete a risk profiling questionnaire which provides our investment specialists with a starting point in identifying the level of risk for your investment strategy.

Portfolio Construction (risk management) – our investment specialists will choose the appropriate asset classes for your investment strategy based on the agreed level of risk. For example, if you only want a low level of risk then more of your portfolio will be held in assets such as government gilts, corporate bonds or commercial property. If you are willing to accept a higher level of risk then more of your portfolio will be held in equities including overseas equities or smaller company equities.

Fund Selection – once your asset allocation has been determined we will look at selecting the funds for you to invest. Time and time again we come across investments where they are just invested in one fund or invested with one investment team. Our portfolios typically consist of between 15 – 20 funds to help with risk management and because investment houses have never been and will never be experts in all areas. Therefore, we select the better investment managers and teams to manage different components of your portfolio. We review over 3,200 funds every quarter where we analyse different risk metrics, consistency of returns and the fund teams and investment managers who make up the funds. From the funds we review, there are usually only 300 that meet our selection criteria. We points score the final 300 which helps when constructing your final investment strategy.

Review – the most important part of any successful investment strategy is ensuring that it is regular reviewed. At MBA Capital Limited we hold a quarterly investment committee where we review over 3,200 funds. We then construct our fund shortlist of approximately 300 funds. Finally, using this shortlist and the asset allocation data that we buy in, we review all of our portfolios.
We write to our “Wealth clients” on a quarterly basis confirming whether any changes should be made and asking for their permission to implement these changes.
We are one of the Hong Kong’s top asset and wealth management firms, if you would like to discuss our wealth management or investment management in more detail contact a member of MBA Capital Limited team in Hong Kong i who will be happy to assist you.


Friday, March 4, 2016


MBA Capital Limited in Hong Kong was founded in 2001 with a mission to provide high quality investment advice alongside outstanding client service. We manage equity and fixed income portfolios comprised of individual stocks and bonds. Our clients choose us because of our commitment to investment research, our experience in managing client portfolios and our laser like focus on our clients' needs.

Our investment professionals have, on average, more than 25 years’ experience researching investment opportunities, and managing portfolios through up as well as down markets.
Our investment process starts with a clear understanding of each client’s unique financial situation, and takes into account their tax status and tolerance for risk.

Only by understanding these factors can we develop an appropriate investment solution. Our rigorous investment process results in a customized asset allocation for each client. Each client’s portfolio is to bonds to achieve the client’s requirement for income and stability.

From a client service standpoint, we make ourselves available for phone calls and in person meetings as frequently as desired. Our clients appreciate talking directly to the person who manages their account, not a marketing person or an intermediary. Our team of experienced administrators also reach out to our clients to ensure proper management of all administrative details of their accounts.


MBA Capital Limited HK - Uber and Alipay

Uber Expands Cooperation With Alibaba’s Alipay

Uber Technologies Inc. is expanding its cooperation with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s online-payment affiliate, allowing Chinese users to pay for rides with Alipay while traveling outside mainland China.
Uber and Alipay are working closely despite the fact that Alibaba holds a stake in rival Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Kuaidi Joint Co.as well as Uber’s biggest U.S. rival, Lyft Inc.
In China, Uber users can already pay for their rides using Alipay, China’s most popular online payment service operated by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial Services Group. The new partnership, announced Monday, extends their cooperation beyond mainland China. Uber said in a statement that the cross-border payment services with Alipay will first start with Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan this month, and “will be extended to more regions around the world during the year.”
Intensifying competition in China’s ride-hailing and mobile payment services is spreading beyond the domestic market. Like Uber, Didi Kuaidi is also planning to expand its services for outbound Chinese travelers through its partnership with Lyft. Didi Kuaidi invested in Lyft last year by participating in a fundraising round that closed in May, according to people familiar with the matter. Starting in the first quarter of this year, Didi Kuaidi’s Chinese customers will be able to book Lyft rides overseas using Chinese online payment systems, a Didi Kuaidi spokeswoman said. The company plans to roll out further cross-border products throughout this year.
Uber’s partnership with Alipay draws a contrast to the tense relationship it has with another Chinese Internet giant, Tencent Holdings Ltd. Like Alibaba, Tencent has also invested in Didi Kuaidi and Lyft.
In October, Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick said at the WSJDLive conference that users of Tencent’s WeChat messaging and social media application were unable to tap Uber and news articles shared in WeChat appeared to favor Didi Kuaidi.  Tencent had blocked Uber from WeChat last year, citing the company had violated some of WeChat’s marketing rules.
Didi Kuaidi and Tencent have been working closely. WeChat, which has about 650 million monthly active users, comes with a ride-hailing button that directs users to Didi Kuaidi’s service. Users can pay for rides with WeChat’s own mobile payment service, which is competing fiercely with Alipay.  Alipay so far accounts for the majority of mobile payment transactions in China.
In China, Uber accepts multiple payment methods including Alipay and another online payment service run by Chinese search provider Baidu Inc., but its payment options don’t include WeChat Pay.
Eva Dou contributed to this article.