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The Silicon Review Asia

Ant Financial – Leveraging Technology and Responsibility to Build a Better Society for the Future

The Silicon Review
July, 2020

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Financial technology (Fintech) is used to describe new tech that seeks to improve and automate financial services delivery and use. ​​​At its core, fintech is utilized to help companies, business owners, and consumers better manage their financial operations, processes, and lives by utilizing specialized software and algorithms used on computers and, increasingly, smartphones.

Ant Financial is an innovative technology provider that aims to bring inclusive financial services to the world. It was officially founded in October 2014, originated from Alipay, founded in 2004. Facing individual users, Alipay, the world's largest mobile and online payments platform, operated by Ant Financial, is a lifestyle platform based on real-name authentication and creditworthiness. As a member of the Alibaba digital economy, Ant Financial is working hand in hand with Alibaba Group to make it easy to do business anywhere. Through its innovative technologies, Ant Financial is committed to helping global consumers and small-and-micro enterprises gain access to inclusive financial services that are secure, green, and sustainable, creating greater value for society and bringing equal opportunities to the world.

Alipay has partnered with more than 200 financial institutions in providing payment services to tens of millions of small and micro merchants, leading to a continual increase in service use cases. Alipay has extended its service into various offline use cases, such as restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores, taxis, hospitals, and public services. Through online marketing, big data service, and other means, Alipay has empowered traditional businesses and public services to improve their user experience. It is powered by the blockchain technology from Ant Financial, AlipayHK, and GCash launch cross-border remittance service, offering a fast, secure, convenient, transparent and low-cost way to transfer money directly between individuals in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Revolutionary solutions furnished by Ant Financial

Inclusive Finance: Ant Financial Services Group ("Ant Financial") believes the significance of inclusive financial services lies in providing equal access to financial services for individuals and businesses in need. This philosophy originated from ten-plus years of practice since the establishment of Alipay and the realities of inclusive financial services in developing countries, especially in China. Based on these circumstances, Ant Financial uses Alipay and other products and services to provide Internet financial services to the public. With Big Data, cloud computing, and other technologies, users can enjoy equal access to financial services. This greatly expands the scope of inclusive financial services.

Green Finance: Low-carbon lifestyles can reduce environmental risks and improve people's well-being. Green finance supports green production through financial instruments and encourages low-carbon lifestyles and green consumption. Dedicated to green finance practices, Ant Financial helps achieve sustainable development by promoting green production and green consumption across all facets of society. Ant Financial has developed a two-pronged "Green Financial Strategy": First, green thinking applies to financial innovation to incentivize public participation. Second, these financial innovations promote the growth of China's green economy and increase green awareness.

Big Data technology: Ant Financial applies Big Data technology to the businesses in its ecosystem. Ant Financial's MYbank, and its predecessor "Alibaba Micro Loan," has leveraged a Big Data model to offer loans. It has provided loans totaling over RMB 700 billion to over 4 million small and micro enterprises and entrepreneurs over the past five years, helping them tackle the capital shortage, allowing them to survive and grow, and create more job opportunities.

Facial Recognition Technology: Ant Financial is committed to researching and developing advanced biometric-based facial recognition technology and applying it to online identity authentication to enhance security further and improve user experience. Based on its cutting-edge facial recognition algorithm, Ant Financial has developed interactive face detection technology and image desensitization technology and has designed a high-concurrency ready and reliable system security structure. Based on these technologies, face and identity verification products have been successfully deployed in MYbank and Alipay's identity authentication processes. The core algorithms involved are the biometric detection algorithm, image desensitization algorithm, and facial recognition algorithm.

The formidable leader behind the glory of Ant Financial

Simon Hu is the Chief Executive Officer of Ant Financial. Mr. Simon Hu joined Alibaba Group in June 2005 and held various key positions at Alipay and Ant Group. In 2009, Mr. Hu started an internal venture called AliFinance within Alibaba, leveraging data analytics to provide collateral-free financing services for small and micro businesses in China. Mr. Hu was appointed president of Alibaba Cloud in November 2014. Under his leadership, Alibaba Cloud grew rapidly and embarked on global expansion, becoming the largest cloud computing company in Asia and among the top three worldwide. Mr. Hu became president of Ant Group in November 2018 and was appointed chief executive officer of Ant Group in December 2019. Before joining Alibaba, Mr. Hu worked in financial institutions, including China Construction Bank and China Everbright Bank. Mr. Hu received his EMBA degree from China Europe International Business School in 2010.

"We recognize the power of digital technology to transcend geographical and information gaps and help countries and institutions work together during natural disasters or in daily life."

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