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Ant Financial seen becoming world's top consumer bank

Biggest obstacle for Alibaba affiliate is strict regulation abroad

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Alipay is widely accepted in China, such as at this store in Shanghai.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- In a world that embraces disruptive technology, China's most prominent financial technology company, Ant Financial Services Group, would probably have no problems morphing into a bank, even without licenses.

Beginning as an online payment processor called Alipay supporting Alibaba Group Holding's flagship e-commerce platform Taobao, Ant Financial has expanded into wealth management and microfinancing. Alipay now controls 70% of China's mobile payment market, while Yu'e Bao, which serves as a repository for cash leftover from online spending, emerged as the world's largest money market fund this year with $165.6 billion of assets under management.

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