Russian internet firm Mail.Ru has agreed to form an e-wallet joint venture (JV) with Alipay- the Chinese mobile payment platform operated by Ant Financial.
The new JV marks the first for Ant Financial outside of Asia.
The move is aimed at driving financial inclusion in Russia.
“The new joint venture for payments (Payment JV) will work to accelerate the development of Russia’s digital economy by upgrading the country’s digital payment services,” Mail.Ru said in a statement.
Also involved in the initiative are international holding company USM, Russian mobile operator MegaFon, and the country’s sovereign wealth fund Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).
Holding a 40% interest, Mail.Ru will be the largest shareholder in the JV.
The agreement on the e-wallet JV coincides with the formation of a separate JV dubbed AliExpress Russia.
The AliExpress Russia JV was launched by Mail.ru, Alibaba, MegaFon and RDIF.
Commenting on the AliExpress Russia JV, Alibaba Group executive chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang said: “The AliExpress Russia JV is an important part of Alibaba’s globalisation strategy, and a key step toward our long-term goal to help 10 million small businesses reach profitability and serve 2 billion customers worldwide.
“Together with Mail.ru Group, RDIF and MegaFon, we are committed to accelerating development of the digital consumer economy of Russia and CIS countries by enabling regional brands and SMEs to reach and serve their target consumers through our unique and innovative shopping experience.”