Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s finance affiliate, Ant Financial, is alleged to have acquired a 20 percent stake in Shanghai Suntime Information Technology Co., a data provider tracking Chinese hedge funds, according to Bloomberg sources.
Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group reportedly paid 250 million yuan ($38 million) for the stake earlier this week in a deal which has not yet been publicly disclosed.
Ant Financial, as the company is known, is controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma. With its latest acquisition, Ant Financial is tapping the potential of the nation’s rapidly-growing hedge fund industry as the wealthier Chinese turn to private managers.
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Shanghai Suntime, founded in 2003, runs one of the biggest databases tracking Chinese hedge funds as well as providing profit forecasts for listed companies and offering wealth-management services.
Ant Financial is reputed to be valued at around $60 billion after raising $4.5 billion earlier this year. The company has evolved from an outsider in a tightly controlled industry to an online giant now working with the largest state-run entities, including China’s sovereign wealth fund and the nation’s second-largest bank.
The company also runs China’s largest online payment service, Alipay, which has 450 million users.