Ant Financial to roll out fintech in Indonesia

Alibaba-backed Ant Financial has teamed up with Emtek to bring fintech services to Indonesia

BlackBerry Messenger is still a hugely popular platform in Indonesia, so utilising it for a payments system makes perfect sense

On April 12, Alibaba’s digital payments company Ant Financial announced a new joint venture with media conglomerate Emtek Group as it seeks to roll out fintech services in Indonesia. The companies will develop an array of offerings, most notably a payment service on BlackBerry’s Messenger platform (BBM), which still boasts 63 million monthly users in the country. Emtek’s investment wing, Kreatif Media Karya, will hold 61 percent of the new company, which will be available for e-commerce, over-the-top and online-to-offline merchants in Indonesia, the companies said.

“Ant Financial has proven its expertise in providing payment and financial services solutions to the massive and growing [base of] mobile device users in China and developing its partners globally. We are keen to replicate that success in Indonesia”, said Emtek CEO Alvin Sariaatmadja.

The Emtek move is Ant’s fifth international payments deal in the past six months. It forms part of a wider push toward expansion beyond China, where Ant currently boasts a 450 million-strong user base, thanks to its Alipay and digital banking services.

The Emtek move is Ant’s fifth international payments deal in the past six months

In November, the company invested in Thai firm Ascend Money in a similar deal to the Emtek move. Then, in February, it announced a $200m deal with Korean company Kakao Pay and made a similar investment in Philippines-based micro-payment firm Mynt. Ant is now bidding for US company Moneygram, although could be outdone by stiff competition from Euronet.

Indonesia’s fintech market is increasingly regulated to accommodate smaller start-up firms, with relaxed testing and funding rules for new companies being introduced in September and January respectively. That said, larger ventures like Ant’s still have a promising road ahead.

Given its existing foothold in the industry, the company has a good chance of developing a quality end product with Emtek. Moreover, Ant now has the support of Alibaba and access to Emtek’s wide portfolio, which boasts the hugely successful Bukalapak and Both will be useful when Ant comes to roll out its own service on BBM, with which both Bukalapak and Reservasi signed a strategic alliance in June last year.