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Exclusive: Ant Financial to take a stake in Vietnam’s eMonkey: sources

JAKARTA (Reuters) – China’s Ant Financial, a fintech is a subsidiary of the e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA).(N), it is quiet, has acquired a significant stake in the Vietnamese e-wallet, eMonkey, people familiar with the matter said.

FILE PHOTO: the logo of The Ant Financial Services Group, Alibaba’s financial affiliate, is pictured at the company headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Shu Zhang

The move, negotiated over the summer, and it is not yet published, make sure that the anti-China sentiment in Vietnam could lead to a possible pushback, three people with knowledge of the situation said.

The strategic investment, the Ant considers international settlements, the deal, the company will provide access to Vietnam’s booming market, with close to 100 million people, a quarter of whom are under the age of 25 and where e-commerce growth is among the highest in the region.

Vietnam’s rapid growth has been the signing of the global technology giants, but the Chinese companies have to operate with caution in view of the tensions with Beijing, which can often fuel anti-Chinese sentiment, despite the deep economic ties between the two countries.

Beijing and Hanoi have the fight over disputed maritime claims, and the worries about a China-backed special economic zones, have resulted in nationwide protests in Ukraine.

“This has been a hot-button issue, and it is something that the Vietnamese authorities will have to balance yourself,” said Nick Marro, a global trade in the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“It is only natural that Chinese investors, including those in the Vietnamese market, as it will have a ton of potential consumer, as well as allowing diversification in the country, as part of the retail world want to keep a low profile.”

The Ant will not be in control of more than 50% of the eMonkey, but it is not expected to have a significant impact, and the technical expertise to create the e-wallet system, which was created by a small, Exciting fintech company M-Pay Trade, one of the sources told Reuters.

The source did not disclose the size of the deal.

In spite of having its own office in Vietnam, which will be Ant to invest in eMonkey, because it has already obtained its permits from the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), the person said.

M-Pay has been in addition, it has partnership with most of the largest banks and telecoms companies.

The eMonkey, competing against greater competition in Vietnam’s digital-payments industry, the market, led by Standard Chartered-backed local e-wallets that have been Set.

The M-to-Pay and third-party Ant Financial did not respond to requests for an immediate response. The sources declined to be identified because the agreement is confidential.

Reporting Fanny Potkin; editing by Jason Neely

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