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​Alibaba Group's Ant Financial launches technology brand

Ant Financial Technology will offer customers transaction, intelligence, security, interaction, and blockchain capabilities.

Alibaba Group's financial services arm Ant Financial has announced the launch of Ant Financial Technology, targeted specifically at financial institutions.

Under the new brand, Ant Financial's technology products and services will consist of five product portfolios: Large-scale financial transaction technologies, financial security technologies, financial intelligence technologies, "next-generation" interaction technologies, and blockchain applications.

The company said the aim is to help financial organisations grow by improving user experience.

Launching the Chinese giant's new tech play at the 2018 Ant Technology Exploration Conference in Hangzhou, deputy CTO of Ant Financial Xi Hu said Ant Financial's technology products and services have already been used to improve efficiency and lower costs at approximately 200 financial institutions, including more than 100 banks, over 60 insurance companies, and more than 40 asset management firms and security brokers.

"Since our establishment in 2014, Ant Financial has focused on developing cutting edge technologies to enable inclusive finance," Hu said.

"Going forward, we will offer a full suite of technology products and services to power the growth of our financial institution partners and help them extend their services to more individuals."

Ant Financial Services manages Alipay, Alibaba's third-party mobile and online payment platform.

The company has an active user base in excess of 600 million Chinese consumers, and claims Alipay is a more popular payment method than cash in China.

Shifting its focus away from solely payments, Alipay earlier this year rolled out an electronic identity card certified by the government in three cities in China.

Users of the mobile payment app can receive an ID card, certified by the Ministry of Public Security, after facial recognition authentication and use it just like a physical card for certain services in the cities of Zhangzhou, Hangzhou, and Fuzhou.

Ant Financial Services said it will widen the availability and service range of the ID card if feedback of the pilot is positive.

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