As Ant Group, the online payment provider, prepares to go public, the China-based company has launched Trusple, a blockchain platform for cross-border trade by small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to accelerate order processing.
The Hangzhou-based division of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is seeking a record return of at least $35 billion as it becomes a public company in the Hong Kong and Shanghai markets after its valuation of about $250 billion. If successful, it would eclipse state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco, which set the previous record of $29.4 billion.
Ant, which operates Alipay, the mobile payments app, introduced Trusple in Shanghai Friday (Sept. 25).
“Just like when Alipay was introduced in 2004 as the online escrow payment solution to build trust between buyers and sellers, with the launch of Antchain-powered Trusple, we look forward to making cross-border trading safer, more reliable, and more efficient for buyers and sellers, as well as for the financial institutions that serve them,” Jiang Guofei, president of Ant’s advanced technology business group, told the South China Morning Post.
The news outlet reported Trusple has partnered with Citibank, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas, DBS Bank, and Standard Chartered Bank. Since 2015, Ant has been invested in blockchain research and development. This represents the latest effort to explore the technology.
Under the new initiative, the operator of mobile payments app Alipay allows merchants and buyers to upload trading orders to the platform and process payments using Antchain, Reuters reported.
Since last year, the technology, which has been described as a digital ledger and is the backbone of many cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, has taken off in China after President Xi Jinping said the country should accelerate its development.
Ant has submitted the most number of blockchain patent applications globally over the past two years, according to patent database IncoPat.
One week ago, Shanghai regulators approved Ant Group’s request to proceed with its IPO share sale. The company has requested a hearing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange to reach the next step.