April 12, 2017 / 12:15 PM / 5 months ago

China's Ant Financial extends mobile payments empire to Indonesia

BEIJING, April 12 (Reuters) - Ant Financial, the finance affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding, and Indonesian media company Elang Mahkota Teknologi (Emtek) are to form a joint venture to offer payment and financial services in Indonesia.

The Emtek tie-up is Ant’s fifth international payments deal since November, seeking to tap Asia’s third-largest country by population as the company continues to extend its mobile finance empire outside China.

The new venture will initially take the form of a payments platform within BlackBerry’s messaging service, which has about 63 million users in Indonesia, the two companies said in a joint statement.

“Ant Financial has proven know-how in delivering payment and other financial solutions to a large and growing mobile audience in China ... and we are looking forward to replicating and creating this success in Indonesia,” Emtek CEO Alvin Sariaatmadja said in the statement.

Ant’s Alipay payment app has 450 million users, the vast majority of which are in China, where it is the country’s most popular mobile wallet. The company also has an internet banking licence and offers financial services including insurance products and mutual funds.

Reuters first reported that Ant and Emtek were in talks last month.

Ant has already struck deals with Thai payment company Ascend Money, South Korea’s Kakao Pay Corp and Philippines-based fintech business Mynt. It also has plans to close further deals in Asia this year.

The Indonesian venture also comes as Ant faces off against U.S. company Euronet Worldwide to acquire Dallas-based Moneygram International, a remittance business that could play a significant role in linking Ant’s other payment assets in Asia.

Emtek, an investor in online marketplace Bukalapak.com and travel portal Reservasi.com, signed a strategic alliance with BlackBerry last June and will help Ant Financial to roll out a range of payment products anchored in the BlackBerry social messaging system (BBM) as well as payment services for unspecified e-commerce platforms in Indonesia.

An Ant Financial spokeswoman declined to comment on a timeline for when services by the new joint venture will be rolled out.

Reporting by Cate Cadell; Editing by David Goodman

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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