Alibaba’s payment services subsidiary Ant Financial sealed an investment deal on Tuesday with South Korean company Kakao’s Kakao Pay subsidiary. After a recent merger and acquisition deal with MoneyGram, Ant Financial is set to take another action for the company’s expansion in the payment industry.

According to Ant Financial, which manages Alipay and Alibaba’s other digital banking businesses, will invest a capital around $200 million in Kakao’s fintech project and soon-to-launch mobile finance subsidiary, Kakao Pay Corp, or Kakao Pay.

The investment comes in line with Ant Financial’s target to expand strategic partnerships with other companies. The company “currently boasts over 450 million users worldwide, and will bring new digital financial innovations to South Korea through Kakao Pay, which serves as the country’s premier mobile finance platform.


Kakao is a well-known South Korean internet company that provides free communication services for iOS, Android, and Blackberry smartphones. In 2014, Kakao merged with Daum Communications in 2014, forming Daum Kakao, which was later changed to now Kakao.

With the partnership between the Chinese and Korean payment companies, Alipay will have access to the 34,000 merchants in South Korea who uses Kakao Pay through regular use of online payments. Meanwhile, Kakao Pay user will have more convenient access to payments made on Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba, as well as other Alipay-linked shops in the future.

“The combination of Ant Financial’s global payment platform Alipay and numerous financial and commerce service networks and Kakao’s platform capabilities will result in more effective and convenient financial solutions for both businesses and consumers,” said Young-Joon Ryu, Kakao Pay’s CEO-elect.

Following the announcement of Ant Financial’s yet another investment and acquisition actions, Alibaba stock (NYSE: BABA) did not experience much movement during the trading session, down by 0.30% or $0.30 at $100.52 per share, but was up by 0.63% in pre-market trading upon the time of writing. BABA’s RSI was at 53.3665 with a market value of $247.94 billion.


Meanwhile, Kakao’s stock (KOSDAQ: 035720) was up 4.25% or KRW 3,600 at KRW 88,400, with a market cap of KRW 5.31 trillion.


Ant Financial’s Acquisitions and Investments

Aside from the most recent transaction of Ant Financial with Kakao, the financial segment, announced last month a deal to acquire American payments operator MoneyGram amounting to $880 million. The offer valued the American company at $13.25 per share, at a premium of 11.5% from the time of announcement. At present, the deal is still subject to approval by the Committee on foreign Investment in the United States (CIFIUS).

Meanwhile, last November 2016, Ant Financial previously invested in a major fintech company in Thailand, Ascend Money, which operates in Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Cambodia.

Followed by the finance company’s Thailand investment comes yet another investment made in the Philippine area, wherein Ant Financial secured a stake from a local company in the Philippines. In an undisclosed investment amount, Ant Financial is set to invest in Globe Telecom’s Mynt subsidiary. Mynt is the payment subsidiary of Globe, which runs Gcash, an online service that provides users with features like add credit via phone, bill payment options, money transfer, making donations, online shopping payment services, and purchasing of products and goods without cash.

All investments and acquisitions made recently by Alibaba’s Ant Financial was part of a global target of becoming world’s largest financial tech company in the near future.

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