Alibaba founder Jack Ma. Photo: AFP

Ant Financial is close to closing a bigger-than-expected debt round that could be worth as much as US$3.5 billion, according to CNBC. The money being raised in US dollars will help the Alibaba affiliate invest abroad despite China’s capital controls.

The firm has been aggressively expanding into international markets and this new funding round could help pay for acquisitions such as the pending US$1.2 billion takeover of US money transfer firm MoneyGram.