Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s financial affiliate is planning to purchase a 20 percent stake in Thailand’s Ascend Money in a bid to seize Southeast Asia fintech opportunity. Investment in fintech startups in Asia reached US$797 million in 2014.
An investment into Ascend Money, parent of True Money and Ascend Nano, would help Ant Financial expand its online payments and small loans business in Southeast Asia.
Ant Financial, which is said to be valued at about $60 billion, is following billionaire Ma’s aspirations for global expansion. The Ascend Nano unit is a microfinance and personal loans provider with staff throughout Southeast Asia. True Money provides cash cards and electronic wallets, and holds financial-services licenses in key Southeast Asian markets. The division’s goal is to spread ecommerce and electronic payments services to places where many users lack bank accounts such as Myanmar and Indonesia. This could pave the way for Alipay to dominate Southeast Asia’s payment problem.
A version of this appeared in Bloomberg on June 18. Read the full article here.