Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial to accelerate blockchain initiatives

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 April, 2017, 7:02am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 April, 2017, 7:02am

Alibaba Group affiliate Ant Financial Services, operator of online payments platform Alipay, is looking to escalate its use of blockchain technology this year, which would provide more reliable and trustworthy data for its businesses, partners and customers.

In a keynote presentation at the Internet Economy Summit in Hong Kong on Monday, Ant Financial chief technology officer Cheng Li said the initiative was part of the company’s goal to make financial services more inclusive and accessible.

Blockchain, the digital ledger technology behind cryptocurrency bitcoin, provides a series of networks of databases that allow participants to create, disseminate and store information in an efficient and secure manner, eliminating the need for a central authority and bringing greater transparency for regulatory reporting.

Fraud is a growing global problem in the supply chain, and no product is immune to it
Raymund Chao, PwC

Cheng said Ant Financial will open up its blockchain-powered charity platform, called Ant Love, to more organisations from this month, allowing charity outfits, auditors, donors, media and other relevant parties to better track information on donation history, project disclosures and governance rules.

Established last year, Ant Love records the donations made by about 450 million Alipay users and connects them to various charitable groups and non-governmental organisations. It started an alliance with the China Social Assistance Foundation last year, according to a Bloomberg report.

Cheng said Ant Financial’s blockchain efforts are also being extended to provide better data across Alibaba’s e-commerce supply chain.

As part of this, New York-listed Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post, announced last month that it will work with global consultancy PwC in Australia, New Zealand and China to build better trust in the supply chain of food products.

“Fraud is a growing global problem in the supply chain, and no product is immune to it,” said Raymund Chao, PwC’s greater China chairman.

Blockchain is among the advanced technologies being promoted under China’s 13th five-year plan to help upgrade domestic industries.