KARACHI: Telenor Group has reached a strategic partnership agreement with Ant Financial Services Group in Pakistan, where Ant Financial will invest $184.5million for a 45 per cent stake in Telenor Microfinance Bank (TMB), a subsidiary of Telenor Group, to further develop TMB’s mobile payment and digital financial services.
The MoU was signed today at the Prime Minister Secretariat in the presence of the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, government officials, and management of Telenor and Ant Financial – an affiliate company of Alibaba Group.
The strategic partnership between Telenor Group and Ant Financial combines TMB’s knowledge and local market presence with more than 20 million customers, and Ant’s technology in Alipay, the world’s largest digital payments platform, and other financial services to bring mobile payment and inclusive financial services to individuals as well as small and micro businesses in Pakistan.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi appreciated the partnership between Telenor Group and Ant Financials and said that it is a manifestation of favourable government policies for foreign investment in Pakistan. He welcomed Ant Financial’s decision to invest in Pakistan and lauded Telenor’s efforts towards the socio-economic development of the country. He said that the collaboration would help to broaden access to financial services through digital payment solutions.
TMB offers Easypaisa, Pakistan’s first mobile financial services platform launched in 2009, which has since developed into the largest branchless banking service in Pakistan in terms of agent network, active accounts and transaction value, according to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). TMB also provides micro-finance and related financial services to the less privileged and unbanked segment of the Pakistani society.
“Partnering with a world leading payment provider like Ant Financial will strengthen Telenor Microfinance Bank’s future payment platform and set new standards in the digital banking business in Pakistan. The establishment of this partnership is well in-line with the expressed Telenor strategy of focusing our financial services efforts in emerging markets, making sure that we’re able to build and modernise the businesses in line with customer needs. I’m truly excited about the opportunities this partnership brings for Telenor Microfinance Bank going forward,” said Telenor Group CEO Sigve Brekke.