Caixin
Feb 21, 2017 03:31 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Ant Financial Announces Tie-Ups With South Korean, Philippine Electronic-Payment Firms

(Beijing) — Ant Financial Services Group said it will invest in a South Korean electronic-payments venture and a similar Philippine company as it seeks business tie-ups outside China to complement its popular Alipay electronic payment service.

The South Korean tie-up will see Ant, the former financial unit of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., invest $200 million in Kakao Pay Corp., the mobile finance unit of local social networking specialist Kakao Corp., the companies announced on Tuesday.

Under the agreement, Ant will offer a wide range of its digital financial services in South Korea through the new platform. Users of Kakao Pay, which has yet to launch, will also be able to pay for items from Alibaba’s popular e-commerce marketplaces in China.

“Given Kakao’s leading mobile platform offering and vast customer base, we believe we can bring Ant Financial’s broad experience in digital payments and technology-driven financial services to offer exciting and innovative products to South Korean customers,” said Douglas Feagin, president of Ant’s international division.

The new tie-up is Ant’s second major recent move into South Korea. Last year, the company joined a consortium of 20 investors backing K-Bank, a new online bank being led by leading local telephone company KT Corp. Kakao also received a separate online bank license at the same time in a consortium that included Tencent Holdings Ltd., China’s other top internet company.

Separately, Ant will invest in Mynt, an electronic financial services company that is a unit of Philippines telecom carrier Globe Telecom, Mynt announced at the end of last week. Details of that investment weren’t disclosed. Under the partnership, Ant will share its technology with Mynt, which operates an electronic wallet service and micro-lending platform.

The two investments are the latest for Ant outside China, as it tries to export its expertise to other developing markets in the run-up to a multibillion-dollar IPO that could come as soon as this year. In 2015, Ant made a similar investment in Paytm, a major electronic payment services provider in India.

Contact writer: Yang Ge (geyang@caixin.com)

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