Ant Financial forms strategic partnership with Thai fintech Ascend Money

Finance affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba is currently valued at US$60 billion after its latest US$4.5 billion round of fundraising in April

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 November, 2016, 12:41pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 November, 2016, 11:00pm

Ant Financial, the finance affiliate of e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba Group, has formed a strategic partnership with Thailand fintech Ascend Money as it seeks to expand its digital financial services across the globe.

Under the agreement, revealed on Tuesday, Ant Financial will assist the Bangkok-based Ascend Money in growing its online and offline payment and financial services ecosystem in the country by providing strategic and technical support.

Ascend Money currently provides customers with a mobile wallet application, and services such as domestic and international remittances, online and offline payments and payroll services.

Ascend Money is Ant Financial’s second global partner, after the latter invested US$680 million in India’s e-wallet company Paytm in September last year.

In June, Ant Financial was reported to have plans to acquire a 20 per cent stake in Ascend Money, with an option to allow it to further raise its stake to 30 per cent, according to a statement published on China’s Ministry of Commerce website. Ant Financial declined to reveal any investment or stake details at Tuesday’s announcement.

“The payment market in Thailand has vast untapped potential and we are dedicated to contributing our share to bring a greater variety of convenient and reliable financial services to small and micro enterprises and individual consumers,” said Eric Jing, Ant Financial’s chief executive.

Ant Financial, whose Alipay online and mobile payments service has over 450 million users, is the largest payment app in China.

But the company has its sights firmly set on expanding its services around the world with a target to serve two billion users globally within the next decade.

The company is reportedly planning an IPO, with local media reports suggesting a dual-listing on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges. However, Ant Financial is yet confirm any potential timescale.

The company is currently valued at US$60 billion after its latest US$4.5 billion round of fundraising in April.

Its financial network covers several regions and over 70 countries worldwide, including the US, Britain, Germany, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, and several countries in Southeast Asia.

Over 80,000 merchants in these areas accept Alipay as an in-store payment method, allowing Alipay users to pay for purchases using the app.

Alibaba Group is the owner of the South China Morning Post.