• China’s largest online finance firm said to plan IPO
  • Company may be valued at $74.5 billion according to CLSA

Ant Financial, the financial affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., almost doubled earnings in fiscal 2017 as it expanded its footprint in wealth management and overseas markets.

The company controlled by Alibaba’s billionaire co-founder Jack Ma racked up an 86 percent jump in pretax profit to 5.56 billion yuan ($814 million) in the year ended March, according to Bloomberg’s calculations from an Alibaba filing. Ant Financial declined to comment in an email.

Since starting as Alipay in 2004, Ant Financial has grown into an online giant that controls more than half of China’s $5.5 trillion mobile payments market. The company expanded into money-market funds and is now ramping up assets overseas via deals in India, Thailand and the U.S. The profit surge…