November 26, 2014 / 10:24 AM / 3 years ago

CORRECTED-China's Hundsun shares surge as Alibaba expands financial services holdings

3 Min Read

(Corrects lead to show Alibaba Group affiliate, not Alibaba itself agreed the investment)

By Matthew Miller and Paul Carsten

BEIJING, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Shares in Chinese financial software firm Hundsun Technologies Inc surged 8.5 percent on Wednesday after an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd agreed to jointly invest in a Hundsun unit that provides financial data services.

Hundsun shares have gained about 30 percent since Friday, when it said it had reached a preliminary agreement with Shanghai Media Group (SMG), one of China's biggest media and entertainment firms, and Alibaba affiliated Ant Financial Services Group to jointly invest 390 million yuan ($63.57 million) in Hundsun subsidiary Shanghai Gildata Inc, a data services provider that competes with Bloomberg L.P. and Thomson Reuters Corp.

The stock is already up more than 130 percent since Hundsun said Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma had invested an initial 3.3 billion yuan ($537.60 million) in April to take a controlling interest in the firm.

China's market for financial data increased at an annual rate of 45.8 percent from 2008 to 2012, according to research firm Burton-Taylor International Consulting, and was expected to grow 6 percent last year to reach $790 million.

Shanghai Gildata, after the investment, will be about 41 percent directly held by Hundsun Technologies and 10 percent owned by Hundsun subsidiary Ningbo Yunhan Investment Management Partnership, according to Hundsun's filing.

Shanghai Yicai Media Co, owned by SMG, will hold a 29.9 percent stake, while Alibaba's affiliate Ant Financial will hold 19.1 percent of Shanghai Gildata's shares.

Jack Ma is quickly building up Alibaba's financial services empire. His Alipay unit not only provides payments services, but through Ant Financial also holds interests in companies providing loans, wealth management products, insurance, banking and financial data services.

It is unclear whether Ma or Alibaba controls Hundsun Technologies. According to the results of a Hundsun board meeting on Oct. 31, four executives of Alibaba affiliates were named to Hundsun's board. They include Simon Hu, an Alibaba vice president, Ant Financial Chief Financial Officer Eric Jing, and Cheng Li, Ant Financial's chief technology officer.

An Alibaba spokeswoman declined to provide immediate clarification or comment.

A Hundsun spokewoman contacted by telephone declined to elaborate on the company's filing. A Shanghai Media Group spokeswoman also declined to comment. ($1 = 6.1384 Chinese yuan) (Additional reporting by Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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