Alibaba's Ant Financial could sell a stake at $30bn valuation
Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma.Reuters

Ant Financial Services Group, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding's financial services affiliate, is reportedly in negotiations to sell a stake to outside investors and the funding round could value the unit at $30bn (£19.67bn, €26.45bn).

China's state-backed social security fund, Postal Savings Bank of China, and CDB Capital, an investment arm of China Development Bank, could pick up stakes of 5%, 3% and 3% respectively, news magazine Caixin reported.

Pursued by Reuters, Alibaba spokeswoman Teresa Li, speaking on behalf of Ant Financial, said the firm did not comment on market rumours or speculation as a matter of policy.

The three firms named as potential strategic investors could not immediately be reached for comment.

Ant Financial runs Alipay, China's most widely used online payment platform.

Ant is controlled by Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma and other senior Alibaba executives.

Ma has repeatedly said that he plans to eventually float Ant Financial. Last week, he told reporters there was no timetable for the planned initial public offering (IPO) and that it was not decided where the firm will list its shares, although Ma has been considering Asia as a location.

Ant Financial, announced on 5 February that it will acquire 25% of Indian payment services provider One97 Communications, which runs m-commerce platform Paytm.

The stake is worth over $500m and the investment is a precursor to a likely One97 IPO, Reuters reported.

Under an August 2014 agreement between Ant Financial and Alibaba, the latter shares 37.5% of the unit's profit or can in the future take a direct stake in it.

Total payment volume over Alipay hovered at $778bn in the 12 months ended 30 June, 2014. During the period, 78.1% of Alibaba's gross merchandise volume, the total value of goods ordered on its China retail marketplaces, was settled through Alipay.