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Ant Financial Buys helloPay For Southeast Asia Push

Ant Financial, the payment unit of Alibaba, has inked a deal to acquire helloPay Group, the Singapore payment company.

According to a report in Reuters, the move is part of Ant Financial’s push to boost Alipay, its payment platform in Southeast Asia. helloPay is the payment unit of eCommerce firm Lazada Group, which is majority-owned by Alibaba. Last year Alibaba spent $1 billion for helloPay, noted the report. helloPay will be rebranded Alipay in certain markets, including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, Ant said in a statement covered by Reuters. Reuters noted the rebranded service will stay independent of Alipay’s app, which has around 450 million users in China and is the most popular digital payment app in the country. Terms of the deal with helloPay were not disclosed.

Earlier this week Ant Financial reportedly inked a deal with Elang Mahkota Teknologi (Emtek Group), the local media conglomerate that gained control of BBM’s Indonesia operations in a licensing deal reached with BlackBerry last year. Under the deal, a mobile payment service will be created that users can access via BBM.

The report noted BBM is still huge in messaging in Indonesia, with greater than 63 million monthly active users. What’s more, a recent survey of internet users by JakPat in January found 83.1 percent of survey respondents still use BBM, with greater than one-third of BBM users accessing the app more than 10 times daily. The report noted that with Alipay, Ant has grown the offering to include wealth management tools, food ordering, bill payment and the ability to make reservations for travel. Ant is expected to do the same with BBM. Emtek Group, Ant’s new partner, has tried to expand the offerings on BBM beyond messaging and didn’t have much luck, noted the report.

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