Alibaba to buy 20% of CP Group's Ascend Money

Investment in Thai company part of China e-commerce giant's plans for online payments & loan business in Asia.

ECOMMERCE & INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

China e-commerce giant to buy 20% of CP Group's Ascend Money

18/06/2016
Bloomberg News agency

The financial services unit of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba plans to purchase a 20% stake in Thailand’s Ascend Money.

The purchase is part of a bid to become a key financial services player in Southeast Asia.

ANT FINANCIAL'S BUSINESS 

Ant Financial is the name of the financial services unit of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Ant Financial is controlled by (controlling stake) Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma (the full name being Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group).

The company, which is said to be valued at about $60 billion, is following billionaire Ma’s aspirations for global expansion as it ventures into countries including South Korea and India.

ONLINE PAYMENTS & SMALL LOANS IN ASEAN BUSINESS

An investment into Ascend Money would help Ant Financial expand its online payments and small loans business in Southeast Asia.

Ant has recently obtained licenses for internet banking and payments in India and South Korea also.

The company is considering an initial public offering (IPO) on the Shanghai stock exchange as early as this year.

The company also wants an option to increase its Ascend Money holdings to 30%.

ASCEND MONEY's BUSINESS

Ascend Money is the parent company of True Money and Ascend Nano.

Ascend Group was spun off from True Corporation and is now a subsidiary of CP Group which has interests in agriculture, retail businesses and telecommunications.

Ascend Nano is a microfinance and personal loans provider with staff throughout Southeast Asia.

The company's goal is to spread e-commerce and electronic payments services to places where many users lack bank accounts such as Myanmar and Indonesia.

True Money provides cash cards and electronic wallets, and holds financial-services licences in key Southeast Asian markets.

Ascend Group CEO Punnamas Vichitkulwongsa said in April that the company would spend 6 billion baht on expansion this year, 83% of which would be spent outside of Thailand.

"The pending investment reflects our commitment to expand internationally, and to bring equal access of financial services to more users around the world,"

http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/world/1013613/alibaba-invests-in-ascend

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Writer: Jon Fernquest
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