Alipay, originally launched in 2004 as an escrow-based online payments method for Alibaba consumers, has become massive online financial services platform. As the service evolved, users could use Alipay to shop on and offline, build and obtain credit, manage investments, save in a digital bank, and acquire insurance.
That portfolio of services was branded the Small and Micro Financial Services Company and spun out of Alibaba in 2011. Three years later, that spin-off was rebranded Ant Financial. “The word ‘ant’ embodies the strength of ‘small’ when all working towards a common goal, and the hope that Ant Financial will bring a new future through small and beautiful changes to everybody,” said Lucy Peng, then CEO of Ant Financial in 2014 when the announcement of the rebranding was made. The “everybody” that Peng was referring to then was the Chinese consumer whose shopping and buying was largely happening inside China.