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Alibaba caps lucrative fall with Commercial Bank of China tech-sharing deal

Fresh off a public offering and shopping boost, Alibaba Group has entered into an agreement with Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to build digital finance services in areas such as cross-border finance and electronic payment settlement.

The parties bring substantial financial heft. Alibaba in November raised $11 billion in a Hong Kong IPO. Billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Financial announced last month that it was planning to raise over $1 billion to invest in fintech startups in Southeast Asia and India.

Alibaba's also coming off a record Single's Day digital shopping event. On November 11 consumers purchased more than $38.4 billion of goods and services on Alibaba’s websites, or 50% more than volume in the U.S. from Black Friday through Cyber Monday.

ICBC is the world’s largest bank based on assets according to Standard & Poor’s with more than $4 trillion in total assets. Earlier this year China’s e-commerce leader Alibaba acquired a one-third stake in Ant Financial whose principal assets include its mobile payments platform Alipay and the world’s largest money market funds Yu’E Bao with assets of $144 billion.

The companies have collaborated in the past. The first major innovation occurred in 2005 when Alipay and ICBC joined forces to offer online payment services to consumers, making ICBC the first bank in China to partner with Alipay for online payments. Alipay and its rival Tencent Holdings’ WeChat Pay control the vast majority of online payments as well as mobile payments made in-store. Alipay has more than 1.2 billion active users.

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