Alipay-parent Ant Financial unveiled plans to invest $73.5 million into Telenor’s Myanmar mobile payments joint venture Wave Money, with the former set to help develop a range of new services for the platform.
Wave Money is currently owned by mobile operator group Telenor alongside investment company Yoma Group, with part of the latter’s stake held by finance affiliate Yoma Bank.
The investment from Ant Financial requires regulatory approval and, in return for the cash and its expertise, the company will become a minority shareholder. The size of its potential stake was not disclosed.
In a joint statement, the partners stated Ant Financial would bring “experience building mobile payment platforms” to help enhance Wave Money’s “digital competence, capabilities, user experience and service offerings to better address the needs of users in Myanmar”.
In addition to its core Alipay mobile payment operations in China and Hong Kong, Ant Financial offers a range of advanced financial services including wealth management and enterprise platforms. It also has a number of investments and partnerships with digital payment companies across a number of markets.
Wave Money provides remittances, airtime payments, utility bill settlement and a range of digital payments services. It’s figures show it has a user base of 21 million an agent network of 57,000 shops, which covers 89 per cent of the country. In 2019 its transaction volume tripled year-on-year to MMK6.4 trillion ($4.6 billion).
Brad Jones, Wave Money CEO, said the partnership would be transformative for the company and its market: “Myanmar is ready for mass adoption of digital payments with a connected population and high smartphone penetration.”Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back