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Ant Financial Moves on Indonesia

April 14, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

The ant—Ant Financial, that is—has been roaming far afield of late, going after just about anything it can find in a bid to build its mobile payment empire.

Now, the Alibaba Group Holding affiliate has recently made a new deal with Elang Mahkota Teknologi (Emtek) to start a new joint operation and bring not only mobile payments but also other services in general to Indonesia.

It’s the fifth such international move for Ant Financial since November, and represents a fairly major step forward; Indonesia is actually the third most populous nation in Asia behind China and India—it’s also the fourth most populous nation on Earth, behind the aforementioned duo and the United States which comes in at third—so it’s a potentially very large market for the company to tap.

To kick things off, Ant Financial and Emtek will start out with a new payments platform geared toward the BlackBerry messaging service, which may sound like nothing much, but the service has fully 63 million users in Indonesia alone. That makes it a worthwhile platform to release into.

Ant Financial—best known for its Alipay platform—has over 450 million users to its credit, so building platforms to accommodate another 63 million or more should be like a walk in the park. Given that Ant also has an Internet banking license along with a slate of insurance products, mutual funds, and other products, it shouldn’t be much of a stretch for Ant Financial to deliver quality material into Indonesia.

It’s not a surprise that Ant Financial would want a greater presence in Indonesia, since it’s a potentially huge market that several other companies have been attempting to make a run at this field. A year and a half ago saw Xendit take a run at Malaysia, and it was far from the only one to try.

Ant might be one of the biggest pushes into the Indonesian market, and that could make it a likely leader going forward as there hasn’t been much time for anyone else to get really entrenched. It might be behind the eight ball on this one, but there’s certainly still room for Ant to pull off a win.