Alibaba Launches Mobile App in China to Lower Entry Barriers to Investing
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s finance affiliate unveiled a wealth-management app on Tuesday to help less well-heeled Chinese buy into hundreds of funds and track stocks from Hong Kong to the Nasdaq off their smartphones.
Ant Fortune complements the PayPal-like Alipay and other services proffered by Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group, a conglomerate controlled by Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma.
The app lets users buy some 900 fund products from more than 80 Chinese financial institutions commission-free. The company said that feature will help lower entry barriers for the 70 percent of the population who now do not invest in financial products because they’re either too expensive or difficult to understand.
It also reflects Ant Financial’s ambition to become the country’s premier online financial services provider. The unit’s ties to Alibaba give it ammunition to challenge powerful state banks on their own turf.
The company wants to “target the 80 percent of Chinese population that holds 20 percent of the nation’s wealth,” Ant Financial’s General Manager for Finance, Yuan Leiming, told reporters in Shanghai. “The company itself is evolving with investors who’re starting from simple and low-risk product, and that takes time.”