Ant Financial, the Fintech division of Chinese multinational e-commerce giant Alibaba Group (NYSE:BABA), has teamed up with Digital Money Myanmar (Wave Money), in order to promote financial inclusion and help the country’s unbanked and underbanked population.
Ant Financial will offer its expertise in mobile and digital payments and will assist Wave Money with enhancing its financial technology solutions. Through the partnership, both companies will aim to provide improved customer service and better security while conducting mobile-based financial transactions.
Brad Jones, CEO at Wave Money, stated:
“Myanmar is ready for mass adoption of digital payments with a connected population and high smartphone penetration. This partnership will be transformative for Wave Money and Myanmar.”
Wave Money is a joint initiative that has been established by the multinational Telenor Group and the Yoma Group. Ant Financial’s management confirmed that it would be investing $73.5 million into Wave Money’s operations.
The investment is part of a strategic partnership, which involves Ant Financial becoming a significant minority stakeholder, along with Telenor and the Yoma Group.
Ant Financial’s stake in Wave Money will consist of newly-issued shares, and may be subjected to certain contractual obligations, and might require regulatory clearance.
Melvyn Pun, CEO at Yoma Strategic, remarked:
“Myanmar’s population is still massively underserved by formal banking institutions with only a quarter of people having a bank account. The COVID-19 situation is accelerating the trend towards a cashless society and drives the growth of e-commerce, and we expect this strategic partnership to … boost Wave Money’s capabilities to support these trends.”
Eric Jing, executive chairman at Ant Group, noted:
“The partnership will enable Wave Pay to tap into the experience of Alipay to promote financial inclusion and better serve the unbanked and underbanked individuals and SMEs in Myanmar.”
Myanmar’s government is working towards enabling greater financial inclusion in the country. Approximately 60% of the nation’s residents are expected to have access to modern financial services by 2022, which would be a considerable improvement from the current 48%.