Ant Financial's bid to create a globe-straddling payments behemoth continues with a $200 million investment in Kakao Pay, a soon-to-be launched mobile finance subsidiary from South Korean m-commerce platform Kakao.
Kakao’s board decided in January to form a separate entity for its Kakao Pay financial service brand, tentatively named Kakao Pay Corp. Young-Joon Ryu, who currently leads Kakao’s fintech division, will head the new company, which has accumulated more than 14 million members, and evolved from payment transactions to offer bill payment, remittance and membership management.
As part of the investment, Ant Financial will port its 34,000-strong Alipay merchant base to the Kakao Pay platform, and present Kakao Pay as a payment option for e-commerce sites run by parent brand Alibaba.
The investment is the latest in a rash of deals by Ant Financial, coming off the back of a $4.5 billion fund raising round last April as it sets its sight on a goal to serve two billion customers within the next ten years. With an IPO in the offing, the company has agreed to acquire US money transmission outfit MoneyGram, and made substantial investments in India's Paytm, Thai financial technology firm Ascend Money and Globe Telecom Inc's fintech firm Mynt.