The Alibaba Group of China has become a colossus in the global Internet world, with a market value of nearly $200 billion.
Now its online payment affiliate is aiming for a similarly lofty financial goal: becoming one of the most valuable privately held technology companies in the world.
The affiliate, known as the Ant Financial Services Group, said on Tuesday that it had raised $4.5 billion from investors. The private financing round suggests that the company is now valued at about $60 billion — or more than $10 billion over the market value of PayPal Holdings, its closest analogue.
Ant Financial may not be as well known in the West as Silicon Valley darlings like Uber Technologies, which was most recently valued at about $62.5 billion. But Ant Financial — whose controlling shareholder is Alibaba’s billionaire founder, Jack Ma — has become an online power in its own right. It is one of the biggest electronic payment companies in the world by virtue of Alipay, a payment service that is commonly used in China.
It is also one of the most prominent symbols of strength in China’s private sector, particularly in the field of online payments. Slow-moving state-run banks and an initial absence of regulation have allowed privately run companies to weave themselves into everyday life.
Ant Financial now encompasses not only online payments, but also low-risk money market funds and a wallet app that enables easy payment from smartphones around China.
Chinese consumers use Alipay to shop online, transfer money to one another, hail taxis, buy movie tickets and even invest their spare change. A money-market fund affiliated with Ant Financial was once one of the world’s largest. According to the announcement on Tuesday, Alipay has more than 450 million users, or more than double the number PayPal has.
Such is the power of the company that its latest financing was led by some of China’s biggest state-controlled banks, including arms of the China Construction Bank and China Life Insurance. That indicates the level of government support that the company enjoys in a country where much of the economy is still state-directed.
Ant Financial’s previous fund-raising round, which was held last year, included China’s national social security fund and an arm of the China Development Bank.
In a move that could further endear the company to Chinese officials, Mr. Ma has said he hopes to take Ant Financial public in China. China’s markets have been turbulent in recent months and investors have experienced losses. Alibaba has not disclosed timing, and the fund-raising on Tuesday suggests it could have enough money to take its time selling shares to the public.
Still, if Ant Financial follows through on the plan, it would be one of the biggest initial public offerings since that of Alibaba itself, which raised nearly $22 billion in 2014 in the biggest public offering on record.
In its statement on Tuesday, Ant Financial said it would use the money it had raised to support its global expansion and would also continue its work to connect people in rural China with its payment, loan and banking services.
Ant Financial and Alipay face intense competition from Tencent Holdings, a Chinese rival that owns the WeChat mobile messaging system. Tencent has integrated e-commerce and financial services into recent versions of WeChat, encouraging use by a wide range of businesses, including department stores, municipal water and electricity departments, neighborhood bicycle repair shops and noodle stands.
Ant Financial had a controversial birth. Alibaba separated out its financial arm in 2011, motivated, it said, by regulatory concerns. That financial arm later became Ant Financial. Yahoo, which then owned more than 40 percent of Alibaba, said it learned of the move only after it was completed.
As a result, investors did not get a share of that business in 2014, when Alibaba listed its stock publicly in the United States. At the time, many pointed to Ant Financial as being in charge of some of the more innovative ideas that Alibaba had recently developed.