Alibaba's Ant Financial is counting on partners outside China to bring its model of online finance and local services to emerging Asian markets.
Billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Financial is taking initial strides abroad after becoming China’s largest provider of internet financial services. On Tuesday, it confirmed an investment in Thailand’s Ascend Money, an arm of the agriculture-to-telecoms conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group. The company is now looking for similar partners to spearhead overseas ventures, including developed countries, said Douglas Feagin, who heads international operations. Ant Financial will help Ascend build an insurance service, initially targeting motorbike riders. It will also create a business modeled on Alibaba’s Koubei, which offers local-area dining reviews and grocery deliveries, he said. Through partners like Ascend and India’s Paytm, the Chinese online finance giant hopes to serve two billion users globally within 10 years.