Chinese fintech giant Ant Financial plans to take a minority stake in Myanmar mobile payments platform Wave Money.
Wave Money announced on 18 May that Ant Financial would make an investment of USD$73.5 million in the Myanmar company via an issue of new shares.
Wave Money is a joint-venture between Norwegian Telenor Group and Yoma Group, which is comprised of Yoma Bank and Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic.
The company saw transfer volume of over $4.3 billion in 2019, while its network of over 57,000 agents have a presence in 295 of Myanmar’s 330 townships.
Following the deal Yoma Strategic will hold a 29.5% stake in Wave Money, while Yoma Bank will hold a 3.4% share.
Ant Financial and Telenor have not made public their respective holdings following the deal.
Wave Money said that the deal would enable it to use Alipay’s fintech expertise to better provide inclusive financial services to the Myanmar rural population.
“The Myanmar government and private sector are accelerating their digitalisation drive,” said Yoma Strategic CEO Melvyn Pun to The Myanmar Times.
“Pension payments, household subsidies, loan collection and bill payments are all being pushed electronically. The major trend will only accelerate when habits are formed and the convenience becomes obvious.”
“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 small and medium-sized enterprises in Myanmar,” said Eric Jing, Ant’s executive chair.