Alibaba turbocharges digital payments arm with $880m MoneyGram purchase

By John Glenday | Reporter

January 27, 2017 | 2 min read

Alibaba’s digital payments service, Ant Financial, has laid down $880m to purchase MoneyGram, subject to approval from US authorities.

The move will make it easier for Ant Financial’s 630m customers, based predominantly in China, to transmit money around the world by bringing MoneyGram’s network of 350,000 outlets in 200 countries into the fold.

Commenting on the deal Eric Jing, chief executive at Ant Financial, said the tie-up would provide "greater access, security and simplicity for people around the world to remit funds, especially in major economies such as the United States, China, India, Mexico and the Philippines".

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Ant Financial has been forced to look abroad for growth in the face of increased competition from homegrown rivals such as Tencent’s WeChat payment service.

Whilst China and the US have been at loggerheads in recent months after president Trump accused China of ‘raping’ his country there is said to be a closer rapport between Trump and Alibaba chief Jack Ma on a personal level.

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