Ant Financial Services, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding, has agreed to buy UK-based payments company WorldFirst to bolster its global expansion, marking what could be the Chinese start-up’s biggest deal since a major US acquisition fell through last year.
“Alipay and WorldFirst’s capabilities and international footprints are highly complementary, and together, we will be able to better serve small businesses and promote financial inclusion around the world,” said an Ant Financial spokeswoman in a statement on Thursday.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
WorldFirst, which offers international payments and foreign exchange solutions for businesses, will give Ant Financial a foothold into the UK payments market. The company already partners with merchants in the UK to accept Alipay as a payment method for Chinese travellers.