Biz / Tech

Ant Financial invests in Pakistani bank

Alibaba's financial services affiliate Ant Financial said it will invest a minority stake in Pakistan-headquartered Telenor Microfinance Bank to strengthen its overseas footprint.
Ti Gong

An Easypaisa billboard seen in a Pakistani grocery store. Telenor Microfinance Bank's teamup with Ant Financial is expected to enhance the Pakistani payment service's technology capability.

Alibaba's payment and financial services affiliate Ant Financial said it will invest a minority stake in Pakistan-headquartered Telenor Microfinance Bank to strengthen its overseas footprint.

Ant Financial will spend US$184.5 million for 45 percent stake in Telenor Microfinance Bank, a subsidiary of Norwegian telecoms giant Telenor Group. The cooperation is to help the latter in mobile payment technologies, and the transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals.

It's the company's latest foray into the overseas payment segment after tying up with a number of players including India, Thailand, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines and Hong Kong. 

"Partnering with Ant Financial will strengthen Telenor Microfinance Bank’s future payment platform and set new standards in the digital banking business in Pakistan," said Sigve Brekke, CEO of Telenor Group.

TMB launched Pakistan's first mobile financial services platform called Easypaisa in 2009, and it also provides micro-finance and relevant financial services to the less privileged and unbanked segment of the Pakistani society.

The World Bank estimate that more than 100 million Pakistanis are unbanked, accounting for 5 percent of the world’s unbanked population.

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