Ant Financial, parent of Alipay, is chasing licences in Hong Kong and other Asia Pacific markets, as it puts international expansion at the top of its agenda.
Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group, also known as Ant Financial, is seeking a licence from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) for users to store prepaid cash or link their bank cards to accounts, Sabrina Peng, vice president of the firm’s international business, told Bloomberg.
The HKMA last month said it had received more than 20 such applications and plans to start granting licences later this year.
Ant Financial indirectly holds a payments bank licence in India via its stake in local firm Paytm. The licence was one of eleven awarded by the RBI in principle last year.
In addition, the Chinese firm was part of the K-Bank consortium which received preliminary approval in South Korea to set up an internet bank. Partners include KT, Woori Bank and Hyundai Securities.
Alipay also established a global partnership with Uber for Chinese travellers to make use of its ride-sharing app.
Peng recently spoke about Alipay’s plans to expand into Europe this summer.
Ant Financial hired former Goldman Sachs senior partner Douglas Feagin as SVP in charge of its international business earlier this month.
Peng also played down the impact that recent domestic regulation would have on its expansion plans. Bloomberg last week said the new rules might slow down the international drive.