Ant Group, the operator of China’s popular mobile payment app Alipay, has launched a new software-as-a-service (SaaS) business this week. This move diversifies the operations of the fintech giant, which is chiefly known for its consumer-facing financial applications.
The SaaS business, Sa Si Digital Technology (Beijing) Co Ltd, was set up on Monday, according to business data aggregation platform Tianyancha. The new company is wholly owned by Ant Financial (Hangzhou) Network Technology Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Ant Group, and registered RMB 20 million (USD 3.2 million) in capital for its formation.
Sa Si’s services will include software development, technology transfer, and server integration for financial enterprises, according to Tianyancha. It has three executives—Ni Xingjun, a senior executive of Alipay; Cai Nianyu, a compliance expert at Sesame Credit; and Yu Bin, a senior manager from Ant Group.
This is the second enterprise service business that Ant has launched in the last two months. In December 2021, a company called Digital Horsepower (Shuzi Mali) Information Technology was set up by Ant Financial with RMB 10 million (USD 1.6 million) in registered capital. Like the newly founded Sa Si, Digital Horsepower also provides technology consultancy and software services.
Amid the changing regulations and intensifying scrutiny applied to tech companies in China, Ant Group hit multiple regulatory walls last year. It was ordered to separate its consumer loan business from Alipay and share users’ data with the authorities to build a credit scoring system.
One of Ant Group’s biggest clients is China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), which has used Ant’s app development platform mPaaS, which stands for “mobile-platform-as-a-service,” to build the digital yuan’s payment app. Ant-affiliated MYbank, together with Tencent’s Webank and six state-owned banks, also worked with PBOC to run trials for the digital yuan.
OceanBase, a database management subsidiary of Ant Group, said last month that its number of customers doubled in 2021, reflecting the decision made by top financial institutions in China to upgrade their IT systems.