The Competition Commission of Pakistan approved the acquisition of a 45 per cent stake in Telenor Microfinance Bank by Alipay parent Ant Financial, Daily Pakistan reported.

The deal, first announced by the two companies in March and described as a “strategic partnership” will cost Ant Financial $184.5 million.

Telenor Microfinance Bank provides mobile money services to the unbanked and underbanked within the country and at end 2017 had 117,000 agents around the country for its Easypaisa brand and 20 million customers.

On first announcing the deal, Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke said partnering with Ant Financial would “set new standards in the digital banking business in Pakistan”.

As part of the deal Ant Financial will share its technology and mobile payments expertise gathered from its development of leading platform Alipay in China, and partnerships in other markets.