Alipay parent Ant Financial says services to surpass payments business

An Alipay digital payment app logo and smartphone sit on a desktop at the Wirecard AG headquarters in Munich, Germany, on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018.

Matthias Doering | Bloomberg | Getty Images

An Alipay digital payment app logo and smartphone sit on a desktop at the Wirecard AG headquarters in Munich, Germany, on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018.

Asked whether technology services would be the main business in the future, Jing said, “in the long term, yes,” but Alipay would be the “flagship” consumer product.

“We want to be a platform … to benefit more people,” Jing said.

Payments platforms such Alipay and WeChat Pay, which is run by rival Tencent, have faced a crackdown from Chinese authorities in recent months.

In recent years, fintech firms in China have grown largely unchecked by regulators. They moved beyond payments into selling products like micro-loans and money-market funds. But regulators concerned about possible risks to the Chinese economy have begun to put limits in place. The People’s Bank of China, for example, this month proposed rules that put in place stricter capital reserve requirements for Ant Financial and others. Those rules are expected to come into effect in the first half of 2019.

Jing said that the increased focus on technology is not related to any heightened scrutiny from Beijing. He added that regulators have played a “supporting role” for both Ant Financial and fintech in China.