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Alipay accelerates its global expansion

By SHI JING in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-22 08:46

Alipay accelerates its global expansion

Bargain-hunters flash the Alipay Wallet QR codes on their smartphones at a Hangzhou supermarket checkout to claim a 10 percent discount on their shopping. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Ant Financial Services Group, the parent company of online payment giant Alipay, is accelerating its global expansion by reaching into the South Korean market.

Ant Financial will invest $200 million in Kakao Pay, South Korean internet service provider Kakao Corp's mobile pay platform, according to an announcement by the two companies on Tuesday.

Kakao Pay will connect to the 34,000 stores currently using Alipay in South Korea, the statement said. There are more than 14 million customers using Kakao Pay.

Ant Financial said the investment was one part of a larger scale strategic partnership, which aimed at connecting the 450 million global users of Ant Financial with Kakao Pay.

Douglas Feagin, senior vice-president of Ant Financial, 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."

South Korea's Kakao has an extensive business portfolio ranging from communications to media, games, financial technology and online searching. Its instant messenger tool Kakao Talk is installed on at least 97 percent of South Korean smartphones.

Prior to Ant Financial, Tencent Holdings Ltd invested 403 million yuan ($58 million) in Kakao Corp in 2012, for a 13.84 percent stake in the latter.

Ant Financial has been quite aggressive exploring the global mobile payment market in recent years-in line with the target that the company's Chief Executive Officer Jing Xiandong set in October last year, to have 2 billion customers worldwide in the next 10 years.

On Feb 17, Ant Financial announced it would invest in digital financial company Mynt in the Philippines.

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