Jack Ma invests 3.3B yuan in financial software provider
Alibaba chairman Jack Ma Yun has agreed to pay about 3.3 billion yuan (HK$4.1 billion) for a 20.6 per cent stake in financial software provider Hundsun Technologies, a move that could help bolster the e-commerce giant's efforts in online financial services.
After the deal closes, Ma will be the controlling shareholder of Hundsun, with the software firm's founder and its management team holding about 10 per cent.
Ma acquired the stake from Hundsun Group, which sold its entire holding to a company 99 per cent owned by Ma.
Hundsun Technologies is recognised as the mainland's biggest software provider for securities traders and fund companies.
Headquartered in Hangzhou and listed on the Shanghai stock exchange, the company said it "will maintain independence" in human resources, capital, finances, structure and operations.
Alibaba, along with other major mainland internet firms Tencent and Baidu, has expanded into the financial services sector to the dismay of state-owned banks and funds.
Administrative supervision of the online finance business has been stepped up in recent weeks and stringent regulations might be issued to rein in the mushrooming internet finance sector.
Meanwhile, Alibaba joined hedge fund sponsor Coatue Management and investment firm Third Point in Wednesday's US$250 million Series D financing of Lyft, a San Francisco-based ride-sharing service.
US venture capital firms Andreesen Horowitz, Founders Fund and Mayfield Ventures, previous investors in Lyft, also participated in the financing.
"This investment will help us continue to grow in the United States and around the world," Lyft co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green said in a blog post.
Lyft competes against Uber in offering a social, mobile application-linked transport alternative to taxi rides.
The transaction marked another strategic bet in a new sector by Alibaba, which paid US$215 million last month for a stake in US mobile-messaging application provider Tango.
Alibaba has sharpened its focus on fast-growing US start-ups after establishing its own investment team in San Francisco last year.