Another day, another deal to widen the reach of Ant Financial, the fintech-focused Alibaba affiliate.
This week, Ant Financial announced that it is picking up HelloPay, the payments firm attached to Lazada, which Alibaba bought a major share in for $1 billion last year. HelloPay was founded in November 2014 by Lazada to develop payment services for its e-commerce business.
The deal is an entirely logical one, given the ownership chain, and it will see HelloPay become owned and operated by Ant Financial out of its Singapore office. Furthermore, HelloPay will be rebranded locally to Alipay Singapore, Alipay Malaysia, Alipay Indonesia and Alipay Philippines in its markets.
Ant Financial is best known for operating Alipay, China’s largest mobile payment service with 450 million users, alongside digital banking and financial services. This year it has embarked on a series of deals to extend its reach beyond China into other parts of Asia. It’s recently set up a joint venture in Indonesia, and has made investments in Korea, and created similar alliances in the Philippines and Thailand. Ant Financial is also on the cusp of buying U.S.-based cross-border remittance Moneygram for $1.2 billion following a bid from rival payment operator Euronet.
Alibaba, meanwhile, is planting roots in Southeast Asia following last year’s Lazada investment. It recently announced plans for a cross-border e-commerce hub in Malaysia, and, as TechCrunch reported last month, it is in discussions to buy out the remainder of Lazada.