The Chinese fintech giant Ant Financial recently partnered with Barclaycard, a division of Barclays (Britain’s largest bank).
Despite American attempts to slow down the company’s march into Western finance, this new partnership gives big ol’ Ant a new tunnel into the European market.
Ant Financial has more than 1B active users worldwide, thanks in large part to the Alipay app (it’s the most popular app in the world outside of social media apps).
Thanks to its more than 200 partnerships across the world (and the enormous, $258B buying power of Chinese tourists abroad), Ant is worth more than $150B, making it the most valuable tech startup in the world.
Last year, Ant raised more money that all American and European fintech startups combined. In fact, Ant is now worth more than Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley combined.
US regulators blocked Ant’s acquisition of the American company MoneyGram in January 2018, squashing Ant’s ambitions to expand its anthill in American soil.
But Europe was far more welcoming: Earlier this year, Ant acquired the UK-based payments company WorldFirst for $700m.
While Ant still primarily caters to Chinese consumers abroad, many global analysts describe the company’s global expansion as a “spearhead” strategy to establish footholds across the world and ultimately go after non-Chinese consumers.