In a move to strengthen Alipay’s brand and presence in Asia, Ant Financial, the mobile and payment platform of Alibaba Group Holding has merged with helloGroup. This development certainly bolsters the Chinese giant’s ambition of gaining a strong foothold in the region. The financial details of this deal remain undisclosed. Lazada had also collaborated with Alibaba to introduce its internet marketplace Taobao in Singapore.
helloGroup is the payment subsidiary of Lazada, one of the biggest e-commerce platform of Southeast Asia. This development takes place almost a year after Alibaba acquired a controlling stake worth almost a billion in Lazada.
Post this merger, helloGroup will be re-branded as Alipay in prominent markets, including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. However, the services and features will remain unchanged and independent of Alipay’s existing app. The helloPay team will be seen becoming a part of Ant Financial and Ant Financial will operate the rebranded platform.
Alipay boasts 450 million users in China and is the country’s most popular mobile payment app. Douglas Feagin, Senior Vice President of Ant Financial, said,
There will be no impact to helloPay’s users and payment partners. We will continue to innovate and provide users with safe, fast and convenient payment services.
A statement by Ant financial mentions, helloPay, which was incorporated in 2014 by Lazada as a payments service for its e-commerce platform, will operate under the Alipay brand from April 19.
Recently, Ant Financial increased its offer for US-based money transfer service MoneyGram to $1.2 billion, surpassing competitor U.S. Euronet Worldwide Inc.’s bid. It has also made significant investments in South Korea-based Kakao Pay, India’s Paytm, Thai fintech firm Ascend Money and Globe Telecom Inc’s fintech firm Mynt.
Alibaba, along with Lazada, aims to push deeper into the region and scale up the operations to maintain a strong foothold as it is expected that Amazon might enter the Southeast Asian market soon.