Ant Financial To Acquire 20% Stake In Thailand’s Ascend Money

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Ant Financial, the financial affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba, is planning to acquire a 20 percent stake in Thai third-party payment company Ascend Money, according to an announcement made by China’s Ministry of Commerce last Wednesday.

The investment was proposed by Ant Financial’s Hong Kong-listed payment unit Alipay (Hong Kong) Holding Ltd. In addition, the Chinese company is also seeking an option to increase its stake by a further 10 percent within 21 months of the transaction being finalized.

Ascend Money, a newly established unit of Ascend Group, is the parent company of online payment service True Money and licensed financial services provider Ascend Nano. Ascend Group is a spin-off from True Corporation, a top-three telecom carrier in Thailand.

As the dominant payment platform in China, Alipay has long set its sights on overseas market to maintain high-speed growth beyond domestic market, where it is facing tightening competition from Tencent’s rival WeChat payment.

Last year, Ant Financial invested over $500 million USD in India’s largest online wallet provider PayTM, which now holds an online banking license in the country. The Chinese firm also helped launched online bank K Bank in Korea with local partners, but due to government restrictions the company still only holds a 2% in the joint venture.

Ant Financial sealed a $4.5 billion USD B round this April at a market valuation of over $60 billion USD.