Ant Financial to Raise $1 Billion to Invest in Indian and SE Asian Startups

Alibaba Group’s financial services affiliate Ant Financial is preparing to raise $1 billion for a fund that will invest in fintech startups in Southeast Asia and India.

Previously, Ant Financial Vice President Ji Gang told attendees at a Beijing conference on November 26 that the firm was looking to raise a fund, but didn’t specify the amount.

SEE ALSO: Indian Digital Payment Provider Paytm Nears $2 Billion From Backers Including Ant Financial

Southeast Asia’s digital lending market is expected to more than quadruple to $110 billion by 2025, according to a report by Bain & Co., Google and Temasek Holdings Pte. A person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that Ant Financial is looking to back more online finance startups in those regions.

The fund would be in line with Ant Financial’s policy of expanding outside of China, where its growth is slowing in the face of stiff competition from Alibaba nemesis Tencent.

Just this week, Ant Financial pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into the Indian fintech unicorn Paytm, after investing in 160 companies over the past five years. Ant Financial is also planning to apply for a virtual banking license in Singapore.