MANILA, Philippines – Ayala-led Globe telecom’s new partnership with digital payments giant Ant financial (ANT) is expected to scale financial inclusion to new levels beginning late this year.
“The Ant deal will allow us now to have more capital in driving financial inclusion through proliferation of mobile payment, micro lending other services,” said Globe CEO Ernest Cu on the sidelines of the launch of the telco’s new security center on March 15.
The deal, announced last month, saw ANT enter into a joint venture with Globe Telecom and parent Ayala Corporation through a strategic investment in Globe’s fintech arm Mynt.
ANT, part of Jack Ma’s giant Alibaba group, will hold a 45% stake in Mynt along with Globe, with the balance held by Ayala Corporation.
A direct fruit of the partnership will be the transfer of ANT’s digital payments technology and know-how to bolster Globe’s existing offerings
“We will be launching new products, new services, new capabilities and very secure systems because Ant’s payment systems are very, very sophisticated and currently drive around 450 million users in China,” Cu said.
The rollout, he added, would begin in Q4 this year.
The Globe head also noted that all of these new features will be within Globe’s existing mobile wallet GCash and will be very similar in implementation to Alipay.
Good track record
The investment is the Alibaba group’s first foray into the Philippine market, although Cu noted that “ANT in particular has a very good history of being able bring these type of services to scale”.
A good example, he noted, is what ANT did in India after investing in ecommerce and digital payments firm Paytm. “Before Ant’s investment the starting number of users in the service was 30 to 40 million which today numbers close to 200 million already in a period of around 3 years,” he said.
“Besides India, ANT has also invested in Ascend Money in Thailand and in Kakao pay in Korea, and there’s a deal pending in Indonesia as well, so we’re putting together all the assets that are needed,” Cu said
“You can tell that ANT has really focused on Southeast Asia as a key market for them driven by the fact that financial inclusion is low in the region, and in the Philippines only around 25% of Filipinos have bank accounts,” he added.
Asked if the new partnership will help GCash corner the digital payment market, particularly against rival Smart Communication’s similar service Paymaya, Cu replied,”We’ll just see what happens but I think we’re on a different scale now”. –Rappler.com