Ant Financial: Tough Boundary Choices in Innovation

Xiaoming Zhu, Qiong Zhu, Yingzi Ni, Yifan Zhu

Research output: Other contributionCase Studies


Ant Financial had been pursuing innovation by means of digital technology in almost every single segment within the field of finance. This case demonstrates its history of innovations and achievements at different stages. These innovations had not only made up for the shortcomings of traditional financial services by providing inclusive finance, but had also created new segments such as credit leasing. They had posed a great challenge to traditional financial institutions and, by doing so, had helped these institutions improve their competitiveness. However, despite all these achievements, Ant Financial was also confronted with many challenges. As a trailblazer in an uncharted territory, it faced great technical uncertainties and numerous challenges, including supervisory blind spots, pressure from competitors, and in defining the boundary of innovations, just to name a few. Ant Financial’s senior management was aware of these challenges. In May 2019, they held a two-day meeting to discuss the sustainability and boundary of innovation, seeking answers to questions such as, "What exactly does sustainable innovation mean today? What are the things that Ant Financial can leave to others, and why?"
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2020

Case number


Case normative number


Case type

Field Case

Update date



For more details, please visit

Published by

China Europe International Business School


  • Ant Financial Services
  • ANT Financial Services Group
  • fintech
  • Financial innovation
  • finance innovation
  • Inclusive Finance
  • Disruptive Innovation
  • Open innovation

Case studies discipline

  • Finance
  • Information Technology
  • Strategy

Case studies industry

  • Information, Media & Telecommunications
  • Finance and Insurance
  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services


Dive into the research topics of 'Ant Financial: Tough Boundary Choices in Innovation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this