Alibaba’s Ant Financial extends global reach with first investment in the Philippines

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 market share.

Ant Financial said it would use 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.

A source close to the deal confirmed that Ant Financial and national firm Ayala Corporation have both ta

The deal includes an investment from national firm Ayala Corporation which, together with Ant Financial, both of which have taken a 45 percent stake in Mynt, a source close to the deal told TechCrunch. Globe retains the remaining 10 percent of the company.

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 broader presence could bolster Lazada, of which Alibaba acquired a major chunk at a $2 billion valuation last year. Given that Ant Financial is in 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.

Article updated with more information regarding the allocation of equity in Mynt following this deal