China’s Ant brings in CK Hutchison as Hong Kong payments partner

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BEIJING (Reuters) – Ant Financial, the payment affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, said it will create a joint venture this year with CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd to operate its payment app in Hong Kong, ending Ant’s solo management of the service.

The new venture will allow Ant Financial’s Alipay to offer services via companies under CK Hutchison, which operates ports, retail, infrastructure and telecommunications businesses across 50 countries.

Ant Financial currently operates its payment app under the Alipay brand in Hong Kong, which offers transaction services at around 4,000 outlets in the city. The new joint venture will take over operation of the app, though it will still be branded Alipay, it said on Tuesday.

The companies did not give any details on the financial details of the venture.

Ant Financial has ramped up overseas expansion this year, making new investments in India, Korea, the United States and several countries in Southeast Asia.

In April, it launched a joint venture with Indonesian media company Elang Mahkota Teknologi to offer payment and financial services in Indonesia.

Ant Financial holds an electronic payments license in Hong Kong, which allowed it to launch its payment services without a local partner. The newly created joint venture effectively gives CK Hutchison a stake in Ant Financial’s Hong Kong business.

The companies expect the venture, which is subject to regulatory approvals, to be completed by the end of the year.

Reporting by Cate Cadell. Editing by Jane Merriman

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