Alibaba payment affiliate Ant to invest $200m in Korea’s Kakao Pay

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China’s Ant Financial will invest $200 million in Kakao Pay, the mobile payment subsidiary of South Korean messaging platform giant Kakao Corp, the two firms said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

The investment is part of a broader global push by Ant Financial, the world’s largest financial technology company, after it announced an $880 million deal for U.S. money-transfer firm MoneyGram International last month.

Ant attracted a $60 billion valuation during a $4.5 billion fund raising round last April, and has been using its financial firepower to expand at home and overseas as it prepares for a planned initial public offering that could be later this year.

The payment affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Ant dominates the online payments industry in China, but has been facing growing competition from domestic rival Tencent Holdings Ltd’s Wechat Pay.

Kakao and Ant said the investment was part of a larger strategic partnership to help connect Ant’s 450 million global users with Kakao Pay, which currently has over 14 million members on its platform.

“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,” said Douglas Feagin, President of Ant Financial International.

Kakao, best known for its online messaging platform Kakao Talk, has in total over 48 million users. Ant also has investments in Indian mobile payment and e-commerce website Paytm and Thai financial technology firm Ascend Money.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.