POST TIME: 27 April, 2018 12:03:06 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 28 April, 2018 09:20:11 AM
Alipay parent firm steps into Bangladesh
Ant Financial signs deal for 20pc bkash stake

Alipay parent firm steps into Bangladesh

The country's mobile financial service giant, bKash Limited, and the Ant Financial Services Group, the parent company of Alipay, yesterday signed a strategic partnership deal to promote financial inclusion of unbanked and under-banked communities. Under the deal, Ant Financial Services Group will be buying 20 per cent stake in Bkash, Selim RF Hussain, managing director and CEO of BRAC Bank, told reporters after a signing ceremony at a Dhaka hotel yesterday.

bKash will retain its 51 per cent shares while Ant Financial will get its 20 per cent shares from the remaining 49 percent owned by Money in Motion, International Finance Corporation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said sources. Through this deal, the Chinese digital payment giant ‘Alipay’ enters the growing financial market in Bangladesh. The Chinese company is currently providing financial service to around 800 million users in 40 countries. This partnership involves Ant Financial investing in bKash and increasing its technological capabilities, thus allowing the latter to provide greater convenience and security in mobile financial services across Bangladesh.

Established in 2010 by founding shareholders, BRAC Bank Limited and Money in Motion LLC, bKash runs a network of more than 180,000 agents in urban and rural areas of Bangladesh with more than 30 million registered accounts. The chief executive officer of bKash, Kamal Quadir, said the investment would create many new opportunities for the mobile financial service provider. “Along with its investment, Alipay brings the best payment technologies built by thousands of engineers and the knowledge of applying those technologies to economies that have undergone massive transformation in recent years”, he added.

“We are keen to share our technological know-how with partners like bKash, which has successfully brought financial services to the largely unbanked population in Bangladesh,” said Eric Jing, executive chairman and chief executive officer of Ant Financial.

“bKash is managed by a strong team that has deep local knowledge and execution capabilities. We are confident that together with bKash, we will be able to bring highly secure and inclusive financial services to address the needs of people and small businesses in Bangladesh,” he added.

Speaking at the event, Selim RF Hussain, managing director and CEO of BRAC Bank Ltd, said: “bKash has taken financial services to the doorsteps of millions of unbanked people in Bangladesh. It will benefit immensely from this landmark partnership with Ant Financial. The partnership will help bKash significantly to step up its activities in changing the lives of millions in this country.”