Alibaba to Expand Internet Financial Business beyond China
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is planning to expand its Internet finance business beyond China, after a local lender assisting in the co-launch which got them a online banking permit from the South Korean Government. The Internet financial affiliate of Alibaba, Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group stated that the South Korean government has given preliminary approval to K Bank the Internet bank that was jointly launched with a telecom company KT Corp and other investors.
South Korea has also given preliminary approval to online banking application of Kakao Corp., which operates South Korea’s popular messaging app KakaoTalk whose one of its partner is affiliated to Tencent Holdings. Experts are saying that the new online banking permits are part of the efforts of the South Korean government in injecting new momentum in the sector that is affected with slow growth and slim margins. K Bank gat its permission from the South Korean government to start doing preparatory work saying that the lender will soon apply for a banking license before starting a full fledged operations. The bank is allowed to offer all banking services ranging from deposits, credit cards, loans and providing wealth management products.
The move is close on the heels of Paytm, an Alibaba back Indian mobile payment platform that was also garnered approval form the Indian central bank in October to be a payment bank. Jin Xiandong, Ant Financial’s president said that they will be leveraging their experiences in the Internet finance services to assist the Indian and South Korean partners to serve better the small and micro enterprises. Ant Financial obtained it license from Chinese authorities in September to launch an Internet bank in Hangzhou and has already served 430,000 enterprises with outstanding loans reaching 5.2 billion yuan.