One company that’s seeking global domination is Ant Financial. The company has an open stated intention to reach two billion users by 2025. The way in which it will achieve this is through local partnerships, and many of these have been started already:
- Ant Financial invests in Thailand’s Ascend Money as part of global expansion play, November 2016
- Alibaba to lead $200 million investment into Paytm’s online marketplace, February 2017
- Jack Ma’s Ant Financial makes first investment in the Philippines, February 2017
- Alibaba’s Ant Financial expands to Korea with $200M investment in Kakao Pay, February 2017
- Globe, Ant Financial form partnership to improve GCash in Indonesia, February 2017
The above partnerships are ones where Ant Financial has a strategic interest. Others are more tactical, aiming to provide coverage in parts of the world where Chinese tourists can be found:
- Wirecard and Alipay sign agreement for innovative POS payment acceptance, November 2015
- Alibaba’s Ant Financial Strikes Deal With Ingenico for European Payments Push, August 2016
- Ant Financial partners with First Data and Verifone as part of its global expansion, October 2016.
And then there are strategic acquisitions, of which the major one under way since January 2017 is MoneyGram for remittances. Countered by a bid from Euronet, the acquisition has fallen fallow for a while now, which is why Ant Financial is refiling for review with US decision makers this week to determine the outcome.
All in all, it almost feels as though the firm is moving at lightning speed to build a global presence. For example, Stripe announced Ant Financial integration with its APIs this week, along with BBVA announcing a rollout of Alipay in Spain. In fact, it almost feels like there’s a new strategic or tactical move every single day. Why so much activity? Well, the overall focus is on inclusivity, and to bring the 4.5 billion unbanked and underbanked into Ant Financial’s cheap, simple and easy mobile financial ecosystem. It’s a laudable ambition, and building on my blog earlier this week about global fintech specialist players partnering, Ant Financial is already a long way down this route.
This is why I’ve been in Hangzhou recently, to find out in depth what’s happening from those who know. Meantime, if you haven’t been following this closely, here’s a good analysis of what’s been going on, from Caixin Global, the English version of China Economics & Finance.
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– This article is reproduced with kind permission. Some minor changes have been made to reflect BankNXT style considerations. Read more here.