Ant Financial Buys Vietnamese Payment Wallet eMonkey

Ant Financial will not officially announce the takeover deal due to concerns of anti-China sentiment in Vietnam.

Ant Financial, the payments affiliate of Alibaba Group, has acquired eMonkey, a multi-functional digital wallet, that would allow the subsidiary of China’s biggest e-commerce company‏ to tap into a promising player in Asia’s payments sector.

Sources told Reuters that Ant Financial would not officially announce the takeover deal as anti-China slogans recently marked the 37th anniversary of a border war with their giant neighbor.

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While the exact purchase price is unclear, eMonkey allows Ant Financial to gain a slice into Vietnam’s booming market of nearly 100 million people. Vietnam’s digital and mobile payment is also the most developed and crowded fintech segment. There are currently 30 licensed non-bank payment intermediary services in the country, with around 20 of these offering e-wallets.

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Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N), China’s biggest e-commerce company‏,‏‎ has recently acquired 33 ‎percent of Ant Financial, which houses the Alipay payment processing ‎system and other financial services.‎

The deal, which ends a profit-sharing arrangement that goes back to 2014 and was worth more than ‎‎$330 million last year, clears the way for an initial public offering of China’s most ‎valuable financial technology company.‎ It also boosts Ant’s profile ahead of a widely expected initial public offering (IPO), though the company has neither publicly set a timetable nor chosen a stock exchange.

Ant Financial spun off from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd before its 2014 listing, currently provides its financial services to nearly 1.2 billion users in China and ‎beyond. Alipay makes up much of the business as the payment platform enables users to hail taxis, book hotels, buy movie ‎tickets, and more, from within its app.‎ It also gets a commission of around 0.18 percent on every ‎dollar it processes on Alibaba’s marketplaces.

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