Ant Financial, an affiliate of China’s Alibaba Group, plans to buy a 20 percent stake in Thailand’s Ascend Money, with an option to boost the holding further to 30 percent.
The initiative marks the latest attempt by Ant Financial to expand into Southeast Asia after it raised US$4.5 billion in funding, the Wall Street Journal noted.
Ant has said it wants to grow globally to allow Alipay’s more than 450 million customers to use its digital-payments app while traveling internationally.
“Ant Financial is dedicated to promote inclusive financial services in China and beyond and the pending investment reflects our commitment to expand internationally, and to bring equal access of financial services to more users around the world,” the Chinese firm said in statement Saturday.
Ascend Money is a newly established business unit of Ascend Group, which was established in early 2015 as a spinoff from True Corp., one of Thailand’s top three telecommunications operators.
Ascend Group’s businesses include e-commerce, electronic payments and digital marketing.
Besides Thailand, it has operations in Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philippines.
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