Ant Financial To Acquire Minority Stake In Thailand’s Ascend Money

Ant Financial Services Group, the financial services affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., has accelerated global expansion plans as it took a minority interest in Thailand's online payment firm Ascend Money.

Details of the deal were not disclosed but media reports indicated that Ant Financial is taking a 20% stake initially, with an option to acquire another 10% in the future.

Ant Financial is hoping to help Ascend Money, a unit of Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand, grow its online and offline payments and financial services in Thailand.

Online banking usage in Thailand is low, at 20%, while 75% of e-commerce transactions in the country were conducted via cash drop-offs and face-to-face cash exchanges.

The deal would also open doors for Ant Financial to expand into the broader Southeast Asian market. Ant Financial chief...

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