Six Months @ Ant Financial

How it all began…

“We believe in making small and beautiful changes.” said Jia Hang, Senior Director at Ant International, as he gave the welcome speech to a bunch of AGLA’s who were about to begin their first rotation at ANT. ‘Can ‘small’ ever be the norm, in the world of Finance? Can ‘small’ bring about tangible results? Maybe It is something fancy that they say at Ant’, I mused.

The fresh graduates from various business schools that most of us AGLAs are, we couldn’t wait to get started with our assignments, to roll out GTM Strategies, to execute business development plans and to change the world! However we were in for a surprise when we came to know about the nature of the projects our mentors had for us. These projects were far from anything to do with strategy or business development. Rather we were assigned to projects that involved ground level involvement as in working on undergoing integration projects with customers, FX integration project involving MDaq and teams from customer service. As we were initiated into our projects, some of us couldn’t help but wonder what is it that we were expected to demonstrate.

And Things Got Serious…

One of our first onboarding requirements as employees at Ali, was to set up our Alipay account. Most of us who tried to navigate/use the App found that there were many aspects within the app that needed immediate attention. To give some background, the Alipay EN App is the English version of the Alipay China App. While the Chinese APP has over 450 million users, the English App has a much smaller user base. Given the negligible number of foreigners in China, developing/promoting the Alipay English App always took lesser precedence in comparison to the Chinese Alipay App. As ANT is going global, a fully functional English App becomes a hygiene factor for branding/marketing and business purposes. Thus, the Alipay English App was in line for a revamp at the earliest. All AGLA’s who joined ANT, were assigned to spend close to 20% of their efforts to work on the Alipay EN App.

The Team

After a brainstorming session with the core team, Jenny, Yassine, Norah and Simu, the focus areas were segregated as-

  • Top features upgrade – Better the most used features of Alipay EN App
  • Marketing operations – Promote Alipay EN App across the various channels and through partnerships with key opinion leaders
  • User onboarding – Enhance and deliver quality on boarding experience to new users
  • Basic features improvement – Leverage the foreign user’s experience through the App homepage and settings optimization
  • User support – Create a support system (English help center) for users
Happy Laowai Team
From left to right Standing: Nishant Agrawal, Fabian Sinn, Wilson Tseng, Gary Topp, Dream Liu, Chia Hong Tan, Rohit Kumar, Joe Joseph, Binamra Dash, Alessandro Marcello.
Center: Jean Liu, Yassine Regragui, Norah Zhou, Divya Joseph

Finally it all started coming together…

The weeks that followed saw us working on short real time projects like designing a help center, creating and launching marketing campaigns, deep diving with the product development teams to negotiate feature enhancements and much more. These projects gave us an in-depth understanding of the product and the consumer at the same time.  And slowly it all started coming together. This was in fact the perfect project for us to learn and impact without having to disturb the already thriving ecosystem of the Alipay App for Chinese users.

Divya Anne Joseph, a passionate traveler/reader and an ardent believer of ‘equal opportunities for all’, she strives to work on meaningful projects that are meant to transform lives for the good of others. She looks forward to get in touch with people who are keen on leveraging technology and innovation to build digital ecosystems that can create/facilitate sustainable businesses.

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