Alibaba has won approval from authorities in China to establish a private bank, which is expected to give the e-commerce giant control over its financial services, including online payments and wealth management products.
Through its subsidiary, Zhejiang Ant Small and Micro Financial Services Group Co., Alibaba will hold 30 percent of share capital in the new bank. China is encouraging other non-financial firms to open private banks in an effort to get private capital to more parts of the country's economy.
The banking news comes on the heels of Alibaba's announcement that it will launch a biometric payment option as part of the Alipay mobile wallet. The fingerprint reader will be incorporated into a soon-to-be-launched smartphone from Huawei.
Meanwhile, trading on Alibaba's stock has been fairly quiet since the retailer raised $25 billion in its IPO on September 18. Its shares rose 38 percent to $92.70 the day after the IPO, then slipped 3.7 percent to $90.46 last week. The stock decreased 1.9 percent to $88.75 at the close in New York on September 29.
This fairly even pricing–the stock moved 2.9 percent on average in the week following the IPO–is contrary to Facebook's IPO in 2012, which fluctuated nearly twice as much. "With options trading set to begin today, Alibaba's stock is behaving as if the company is a decade and a half old with an established history of earnings–which it is. That's disappointing news for anyone who was hoping to make money by anticipating big fluctuations in the share price," according to Bloomberg.
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