BEIJING, China — Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (“ICBC”), Alibaba Group (“Alibaba”), and Ant Financial Services Group (“Ant Financial”) today entered a comprehensive strategic partnership to enhance the services available to users by deepening their level of cooperation in the key areas of fintech and financial services.
Under the partnership agreement, parties will work together more closely, improving the quality of fintech offerings by using smart technologies and product innovation. To take financial services forward, the partners will use their collective experience and expertise to focus on areas that include electronic payment settlement, cross-border finance, and scenario-based financial services.
“Complementing each other’s strength, ICBC and the Alibaba digital economy have been working together to build a range of products. Our cooperation expands beyond payment and e-commerce to more areas including global corporate finance, scenario-based finance and financial innovation. We hope to generate more chemistry to promote innovations in Chinese finance industry and further improve the quality of finance services in the coming future,” said Chen Siqing, Chairman of ICBC.
The collaboration started as early as March 2005 when Alipay and ICBC joined hands to offer online payment services to users. ICBC was the first bank in China to partner with Alipay to deliver online payments, demonstrating the bank’s innovation and inclusivity.
“Alibaba Group and Ant Financial highly value our long-standing relationship with ICBC. Their commitment to building a better future has helped fuel the rapid growth of Alipay as well the broader digital economy in China,” said Daniel Zhang, Chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group. “We will always stay true to our mission and continue to pursue financial innovation through digital technology to advance the economy and improve people’s lives. Alibaba and ICBC share a common purpose with a strong partnership built on trust, and together, we will work to make a bright future for all.”
The partnership brings together parties with a common aim of applying technology to make services more convenient and inclusive for users.
ICBC, the world’s largest bank in terms of assets, is already one of China’s leading banks in the use of information technology and has a proven track record in fintech innovation. Alibaba and its affiliate Ant Financial are committed to promoting the wider use of digital technology to better support the growth of the real economy, particularly by making a broader range of financial services more accessible to individuals and small or micro-enterprises.
Three quarters of the commercial banks in China are planning to, or have already, put in place strategies for digital transformation, according to the results of a survey released by National Internet Finance Association of China in October 2019.
In 2015, Ant Financial announced an “Internet Booster” plan to support the digital transformation of traditional financial institutions by sharing Alipay’s technological capabilities, alongside its move to open up its payment services to a wide range of online and offline businesses. Ant Financial has been collaborating with banks since the birth of Alipay in 2004, and today has partnered with over 200 banks.