Is Alipay entering Vietnam riding on Ascend Money deal?

Alibaba’s payment service Alipay might be entering Vietnam riding on its stake acquisition of Ascend Money, a unit of Thailand’s agribusiness major CP Group – which already has a presence in the Southeast Asian market.

The Chinese e-commerce giant announced in June that its financial affiliate, Ant Financial, will be buying as much as 30 per cent in Ascend Money. It plans to acquire a 20 per cent equity interest with an option to purchase another 10 per cent.

The deal is seen as Alibaba’s move to fortify its exposure in Southeast Asia and it is being speculated that it might be looking to build its own e-commerce ecosystem in the region via Alipay.

This deal also comes close on the heels of Alibaba’s takeover of the Southeast Asian operations of Rocket Internet-backed e-commerce platform Lazada, including its Vietnam unit.

Ascend Group (the parent company of Ascend Money) which has businesses spanning e-commerce, electronic payments, digital marketing and venture capital – has extended its reach to five other Southeast Asian countries – Vietnam. Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Email inquiries sent to both Ant Financial and Ascend did not elicit a response at the time of publishing this article.

“Ant Financial is dedicated to promote inclusive financial services in China and beyond, and the pending investment reflects our commitment to expand internationally, and to bring equal access of financial services to more users around the world,” the company said in a disclosure regarding the tentative acquisition.

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