Alibaba’s Ant Financial invests into Myanmar startup Wave Money

The digital payment service division of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, Ant Financial, will be investing $73.5 million in Myanmar fintech startup Wave Money as part of a strategic partnership to drive growth of the company and develop new solutions and products for millions of unbanked or underbanked people in the country.

The investment makes Ant Financial a substantial minority stakeholder in Wave Money through a capital increase, alongside existing shareholders Yoma Group and Telenor, according to a statement by the Yangon-headquartered company which provides digital and mobile payments solutions, namely online money transfers.

The partnership will allow Wave Money to leverage Ant Financial’s experience in building mobile payment platforms to enhance its digital competence, capabilities, user experience and service offerings, the statement went on. It also will support the Myanmar government’s target to increase financial inclusion in the country from to 60 from currently 48 per cent by 2022.

Founded in 2015 as a joint venture between Yoma and Telenor, Wave Money lets users send and receive money using their phones or through one of its 57,000 agents called “Wave Shops” scattered across urban and rural areas in Myanmar.

Profitable after five years of operations: Wave Money

According to the statement, Wave Money is profitable, having become EBITDA-positive in 2018 and reached $4.3 billion in transfer volume in 2019. The company also said that over 21 million people have used its platform, with its active user base of currently 1.3 million growing by an average of 14 per cent per month.

Ant Financial’s investment will be subject to certain conditions, including regulatory approval. The move will allow the Alibaba unit to become a “substantial” minority stakeholder.

Currently, Norwegian telecom firm Telenor holds a 51-per cent stake in Wave Money, while Singapore-based Yoma Strategic Holdings Limited, a business conglomerate led by Myanmar tycoon Serge Pun, holds 34 per cent, First Myanmar Investment Public Co. holds ten per cent and Yoma Bank five per cent of shares in Wave Money.

Plans are that Yoma Strategic Holding will acquire the ten per cent-stake held by First Myanmar Investment, raising its stake to 44 per cent. This acquisition will be completed before Ant Financial’s investment in Wave Money.



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The digital payment service division of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, Ant Financial, will be investing $73.5 million in Myanmar fintech startup Wave Money as part of a strategic partnership to drive growth of the company and develop new solutions and products for millions of unbanked or underbanked people in the country. The investment makes Ant Financial a substantial minority stakeholder in Wave Money through a capital increase, alongside existing shareholders Yoma Group and Telenor, according to a statement by the Yangon-headquartered company which provides digital and mobile payments solutions, namely online money transfers. The partnership will allow Wave Money to...

The digital payment service division of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, Ant Financial, will be investing $73.5 million in Myanmar fintech startup Wave Money as part of a strategic partnership to drive growth of the company and develop new solutions and products for millions of unbanked or underbanked people in the country.

The investment makes Ant Financial a substantial minority stakeholder in Wave Money through a capital increase, alongside existing shareholders Yoma Group and Telenor, according to a statement by the Yangon-headquartered company which provides digital and mobile payments solutions, namely online money transfers.

The partnership will allow Wave Money to leverage Ant Financial’s experience in building mobile payment platforms to enhance its digital competence, capabilities, user experience and service offerings, the statement went on. It also will support the Myanmar government’s target to increase financial inclusion in the country from to 60 from currently 48 per cent by 2022.

Founded in 2015 as a joint venture between Yoma and Telenor, Wave Money lets users send and receive money using their phones or through one of its 57,000 agents called “Wave Shops” scattered across urban and rural areas in Myanmar.

Profitable after five years of operations: Wave Money

According to the statement, Wave Money is profitable, having become EBITDA-positive in 2018 and reached $4.3 billion in transfer volume in 2019. The company also said that over 21 million people have used its platform, with its active user base of currently 1.3 million growing by an average of 14 per cent per month.

Ant Financial’s investment will be subject to certain conditions, including regulatory approval. The move will allow the Alibaba unit to become a “substantial” minority stakeholder.

Currently, Norwegian telecom firm Telenor holds a 51-per cent stake in Wave Money, while Singapore-based Yoma Strategic Holdings Limited, a business conglomerate led by Myanmar tycoon Serge Pun, holds 34 per cent, First Myanmar Investment Public Co. holds ten per cent and Yoma Bank five per cent of shares in Wave Money.

Plans are that Yoma Strategic Holding will acquire the ten per cent-stake held by First Myanmar Investment, raising its stake to 44 per cent. This acquisition will be completed before Ant Financial’s investment in Wave Money.



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

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Donation Total: $10.00

 

 

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