China’s Finance Giant On the Move

Alibaba Group’s internet finance arm Ant Financial Services is accelerating its global expansion. In its latest effort, Ant is in talks to create a payment joint venture in Indonesia with a local media conglomerate, Emtek, people familiar with the discussions said.

A partnership with Emtek, one of Indonesia’s largest conglomerates that has TV broadcasting, telecom, messaging and payment businesses under its umbrella, would provide Ant with a foothold in Southeast Asia’s most populous country with 250 million people. The two companies haven’t yet reached an agreement and a deal would require local regulatory approval, the people said. Alibaba already owns a controlling stake in Singapore-based e-commerce company Lazada, whose major market is Indonesia.

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“The end game is not just payments but all financial services,” said BDA China Chairman Duncan Clark, who has written a book about Alibaba and its founder Jack Ma. “Ant Financial could be worth more than Alibaba.”

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“Ant Financial is setting its footprint worldwide” and partnerships are “vital” to its growth.