Digital Transformation

Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial expands global footprint with South Korea investment

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By Danielle Long | Asia Pacific Correspondent

February 21, 2017 | 3 min read

Ant Financial, the financial payments arm of Alibaba, will invest $200 million in South Korea’s mobile financial platform Kakao Pay as it continues to grow its global footprint.

The investment is part of a strategic partnership, which sees Ant Financial power Kakao Pay, the mobile finance subsidiary of South Korea’s leading mobile company Kakao Corp.

Ant Financial logo

Ant Financial

Ant Financial will provide its digital financial services through the Kakao Pay platform, which currently boasts 14 million users. The deal will eventually enable Kakao Pay users to shop on e-commerce marketplaces powered by Alibaba Group.

Douglas Feagin, president of Ant Financial International, said, "South Korea is an important market for Ant Financial in its global expansion, and we see many opportunities in the market for innovative services and growth in mobile payments.”

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The deal is part of a strategy to grow Ant Financial’s global footprint and become a global payment company to rival Visa or Mastercard. Last month Ant Financial announced an $880 million deal for U.S. money-transfer firm MoneyGram International.

Ant Financial also has investments in Thai financial technology firm Ascend Money, Indian mobile payment website Paytm and the Philippines financial technology company Mynt.

Ant Financial currently boasts over 450 million users worldwide. While it dominates the online payments industry in China with Alipay, it faces increasing competition from rival Tencent’s Wechat Pay.

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