As part of a global partnership, Ant Financial, the payment affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has invested in Klarna. The companies announced that Ant Financial has purchased a <1% ownership in the Swedish financial technology start-up, known for offering shoppers interest-free financing over monthly installments.
Ant Financial is an affiliate of Alipay, China’s largest mobile wallet and largest fin-tech. The investment in CardLinx member Klarna follows a disciplined playbook of strategic investments by Ant Financial around the world including in India and Japan. The move indicates that consumer lending and payments have become one and the same business (whereas previously payment networks operated separately from banks and consumer lenders). Increasingly digital lending, offers and installments will become a part of every merchants’ and mobile wallets’ offering to consumers.