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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