Ant Financial’s Shopping Spree Continues with helloPay

April 24, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

Recently, we saw Ant Financial pick up Emtek in a bid to drive further dominance in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia. The fourth most populous nation on Earth wasn’t enough for Ant Financial, though, as it recently acquired helloPay to give it a presence in Singapore as well.

Interestingly, this seems to be almost an internal development. Ant Financial is buying helloPay, yet Ant Financial is the payment unit of Alibaba, who at least report owned helloPay after spending $1 billion on it just last year.

The reports note that helloPay will be rebranded as Alipay in a set of markets, including not only Singapore but also the Philippines, Malaysia, and even Indonesia, giving Ant Financial another foothold in the Indonesian market.

Terms of the deal weren’t discussed, so it’s hard to tell if Ant Financial got a good deal, covered Alibaba’s spending on the app, or found some middle ground. It’s unusual how it all worked out, but might well have some tax issues involved to add to the motivation.

This isn’t the first expansion effort Ant Financial has undertaken; we’ve seen a lot of similar moves coming out of the company so far, with a clear progress toward being a major name in Asian mobile payments.

It’s already added quite a bit of territory to its range with a series of strategic purchases, but it remains to be seen if it will continue on in this vein, and who it will buy next in a bid to make that expansion possible. There are several potential targets for such expansion, though whether Ant Financial will purchase them outright or simply compete with them is the kind of thing only time will tell.

Ant Financial seems to be looking for big gains to come, and is rapidly moving into the Southeast Asian market to try its luck. It will likely find a receptive audience, and with its Chinese market serving as a backstop, it will even go in with a margin for error.