China’s Ant Financial, which already has a large stake in India’s Paytm and operates its own Alipay wallet in China, is taking a 45% stake in Pakistan’s Telenor Microfinance Bank (TMB), which operates the Easypaisa mobile money platform already serving 20 million Pakistanis.
Through a partnership with TMB’s parent Telenor, based in Norway, Ant Financial will invest $184.6 million to expand financial inclusion for consumers and small businesses in Pakistan by leveraging the Chinese company’s expertise, according to a Tuesday press release.
Telenor operates in 12 markets across Scandinavia, central and eastern Europe and Asia, including in Pakistan where its TMB subsidiary in 2009 launched Easypaisa. TMB also offers micro-finance and mobile money services targeting unbanked Pakistanis, the press release said.
“We are very happy to share our technology know-how with TMB to bring improved user experience on the Easypaisa mobile platform, as well as provide inclusive financial services in a transparent, safe, low-cost and efficient way to the unbanked and underbanked population in Pakistan,” said Eric Jing, Ant Financial’s CEO, in the press release.
More than 100 million Pakistanis are unbanked, accounting for 5% of the world’s unbanked population, the release said, citing World Bank data.