Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial has again extended its global reach after it completed its maiden investment in the Philippines.
The company, which manages payment service Alipay and Alibaba’s digital banking services and is valued at $60 million, said it made an undisclosed investment in Mynt, a financial venture from Globe Telecom. Mynt’s interests include a micro-payment service and a mobile loan service, areas that give it plenty in common with Ant Financial. Globe, meanwhile, is the Philippines’ largest operator with 66.6 million subscribers, that’s just over 50 percent marketshare.
Ant Financial said it would technology to “upgrade” Mynt’s GCash service, while providing cash to help scale its financial products, which are aimed at helping under- and unbanked consumers. It claimed to currently have three million users.
The deal includes an investment from national firm Ayala Corporation which, together with Ant Financial, has taken a 45 percent stake in Mynt, according to local news. Globe owns the remainder of the venture.
Ant Financial’s investments in Southeast Asia include Ascend Finance, a Bangkok-based business with a regional presence, and Singapore’s M-Daq. Elsewhere it is a shareholder in Paytm, India’s top mobile markets service which also runs an e-commerce business, and is in the process of acquiring U.S. payments firm MoneyGram for $880 million.
These moves are important because they indicate Alibaba’s expansion plans, which go beyond what it has done with its core e-commerce business. Indeed, Alipay and other Ant Financial services are seen as a gateway to introducing e-commerce and other businesses, while, in Southeast Asia, a broaden presence could bolster Lazada, which Alibaba acquired a major chunk of at a $2 billion valuation last year. Given that Ant Financial is the process of raising $3 billion to spend on M&A, and is drawing close to a much-anticipated IPO, expect to see plenty more deal flow.