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How Ant Group turned into the Alibaba of Chinese finance

Alipay has evolved into a virtual mall for insurance, loans, funds and more

HONG KONG -- Ant Group's planned $30 billion initial public offering is set to mark the emergence of the company's Alipay platform as a "super app" comparable to Tencent Holdings' WeChat.

Alipay, originally an online payment service, has evolved into a virtual financial services mall for everything from loans to mutual funds, insurance policies and travel bookings. Most of the financial products are provided by third parties who pay service fees on the sales they get through Ant's platform.

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