Chinese fintech and Alibaba-affiliated Ant Financial revealed this week it is putting its Initial Public Offering (IPO) plans on hold and is now focused on investing in more startups and artificial intelligence (AI). The news of Ant Financial’s plans comes less than a year after the company announced its acquisition of MoneyGram (NASDAQ: MGI), a Dallas-based money transfer service, for $880 million. Ant Financial secured $4.5 billion from private investors in April 2016 and earlier this year, the company reportedly sought to raise $3 billion to help fuel its global expansion.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Ant Financial’s President of International Business, Douglas Feagin, revealed that the IPO “is not a necessity or a priority” at the moment. He shared with the media outlet:
“It is the time now to deploy artificial intelligence in ways that are much more sophisticated than we’ve ever done: the technology is there, the data is there, [as is] the receptivity of consumers.”
Although he declined to share how much Ant Financial is planning to invest in startups/artificial intelligence, Feagin noted that the company is planning to spend more than $15 billion over in three years on research and development.
Ant Financial describes itself as a technology company with a mission to bring the world equal opportunities in finance. It is dedicated to creating an open, shared credit system and financial service platform through technology innovations, and provide consumers/small businesses with safe and convenient inclusive financial services globally.
The company itself has reportedly invested over $16 billion in more than 50 startups, which includes investments in online lenders, insurers, and technology firms. It recently announced it led a $40 million financing round in Chinese-based DeePhi Tech, which provides end-to-end solutions utilizing deep compression and a DPU platform.