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Ant Financial to invest $200m in South Korea's Kakao Pay

BBR Staff Writer Published 21 February 2017

Ant Financial, the payment affiliate of Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba, is investing $200m in Kakao Pay, the mobile payment subsidiary of South Korean messaging platform giant Kakao.

Kakao Pay is a new mobile finance subsidiary to be launched by Kakao.

Through the strategic partnership, Ant Financial is set to deliver new digital financial innovations in South Korea.

Kakao fintech head Young-Joon Ryu has been elected as the CEO of the new company.

Young-Joon Ryu said: “The combination of Ant Financial’s global payment platform Alipay and numerous financial and commerce service networks and Kakao’s platform capabilities will result in more effective and convenient financial solutions for both businesses and consumers.”

By clubbing 34,000 merchants of Alipay into Kakao Pay’s system, the new company will boost the number of merchants, both online and offline to give a much bigger customer base for merchants.

Kakao Pay intends to expand its coverage of online and offline payments for South Korean users. It stated that in the future, users will be provided seamless and secured payment experience on Alibaba Group powered e-commerce marketplaces.

Ant Financial International president Douglas Feagin said: “South Korea is an important market for Ant Financial in its global expansion, and we see many opportunities in the market for innovative services and growth in mobile payments.

“Given Kakao’s leading mobile platform offering and vast customer base, we believe we can bring Ant Financial’s broad experience in digital payments and technology-driven financial services to offer exciting and innovative products to South Korean customers.”

Through Alipay, Chinese visitors and tourists will have a wider payment experience in South Korea while Kakao Pay users will get more digital financial services coming from the increasing global reach of Ant Financial.

Image: Kakao Pay will strategically widen Kakao’s digital financial services for South Korean consumers. Photo: courtesy of Ant Financial.