Ant Financial, the payments affiliate of Alibaba, says it has doubled its daily active users in the year to end-March. Much of the growth came in the first quarter of this year, with numbers up 40% on the previous quarter, according to Ant Financial. Alibaba, which reports results on Thursday, has a profit sharing agreement under which it takes 37.5% of Ant’s pre-tax profits. Ant does not disclose the number of active daily users of its Alipay service, but says it has a total of 450m people using its payments and other financial services, including wealth management and insurance. The rate of user growth, hitherto undisclosed, comes as competition is heating up in China’s $5.5tn mobile payments market, which 50 times the size of the US market, according to the Financial Times. Rival Tencent has made rapid strides in the past year. Tencent’s WeixinPay now boasts a 37% market share to Alipay’s 54%.
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