Alipay operator Ant Financial has brokered a deal to purchase a minority stake worth $73.5m in Myanmar-based fintech firm Digital Money Myanmar (Wave Money).
Wave Money is a mobile payments joint venture between Norwegian telecoms company Telenor Group and local corporation Yoma Group.
As per the terms of the agreement, Wave Money will issue fresh shares to Ant Financial.
Wave Money intends to leverage Ant Financial’s know-how in developing mobile payments platform and digital financial services in order to boost its technological capabilities.
Commenting on the deal, Wave Money CEO Brad Jones said: “Myanmar is ready for mass adoption of digital payments with a connected population and high smartphone penetration. This partnership will be transformative for Wave Money and Myanmar.”
The deal, which is yet to receive regulatory approval, will make Ant Group a substantial minority stakeholder, in conjunction with the company’s existing shareholders.
The Singapore-based units of Telenor owned a 51% stake in Wave Money as at 9 November 2019. Yoma Strategic held a 34% stake, while Yoma Bank owned 5%. The remaining 10% stake was owned by First Myanmar Investment Public Company.
Yoma Strategic CEO Melvyn Pun added: “Myanmar’s population is still massively underserved by formal banking institutions with only a quarter of people having a bank account.
“The Covid-19 situation is accelerating the trend towards a cashless society and drives the growth of ecommerce, and we expect this strategic partnership to massively boost Wave Money’s capabilities to support these trends.”