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Ant Financial to allow financial virtual shops via app

Updated: 2017-06-14

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Ant Financial Services Group announced today it will allow third-party financial institutions to set up virtual shops through an indigenous app, another push to vie for supremacy in the country's burgeoning online financial sector.

Banks, securities firms and mutual funds now can publish content and sell their own financial products in a newly unveiled function, the "Fortune Account", via Ant Fortune, the wealth management app of Ant, according to company's Senior Vice-President Fan Zhiming.

"The overarching goal of the platform is to allow financial services to reach end-users directly, and to form an online community discussing wealth management options," he told a packed audience, mostly from the financial sector in Beijing.

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Ltd, China Citic Bank Corp Ltd and Bosera Asset Management Co Ltd are among the first 10 institutions to have such services go live. Ant did not disclose whether or how it charges businesses commission fees.

According to Fan, the dashboard for the Fortune Account owners would provide data analysis and customer relations management tools using data technologies and artificial intelligence. Users are free to raise a variety of questions on asset allocation and are given wealth management advice 24/7 by AI.

Ant Financial's own Alipay app, which provides a wide variety of payments and other mobile services, also has such a channel to access this business.