The partnerships & investments of Ant Financial taken place out of China deliver three key messages:

First, Ant Financial’s expansion is primarily based on the “ecosystem-oriented vision”. To bolster the core financial services, i.e. financial transactions, wealth management and private bank, international partnerships have been established with major financial institutions, in particular with banks and transaction service providers. Apparently, the entrant into European market has been achieved based on this principle.


Second, the expansion approach differentiates based on market specialties and local market readiness throughout “Partnership”, “Investment” or “Both”. It is worthwhile to mention that market readiness refers to a package of ingredients, such as:

  1. Digital consumption behaviors: social media adoption rate
  2. Internet & 3G/4G penetration
  3. Banking penetration
  4. Technology development
  5. Regulations

Third, the three blocks of markets, Asia Pacific, US, and Europe, have demonstrated the main features of the the markets and Ant Financial’s short-term and mid-term goals. Evidently, to leverage the social media channels has been one of the key initiatives of Ant Financial.

Domestically, Alipay, mobile payment portal affiliated to Ant Financial, competes with WeChat Payment to acquire consumers and transactions. Comparatively, Alipay is less sticky to maintain customers, and transforming into a more “connected” platform has been put on the agenda of the group. In this sense, it’s not hard to rationalize the investment into Kakao Pay in South Korea.

Under this interpretation, Europe has become a laggard in regard of e-/m- commerce adoption. Partnerships are more dominant than investment deals. Also, banks, as traditional and established financial instituions, and transaction service providers such as Ingenico Group and Worldline in France, are supporting players in the value chain. It means that to enter into Europe, Ant Financial is still in the stage of following the local rules and integrating the current ecosystem without bringing too much disruption as what’s been put on in China.

Copy Right @ China Ventures Net


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