Wave Money and Ant Financial are teaming up to help the unbanked in Myanmar.
The two companies have formed a ‘strategic partnership’ to promote financial inclusion for the unbanked and underbanked communities in Myanmar.
Wave Money is the trading name of Digital Money Myanmar (a joint venture between Telenor Group and the Yoma Group). Ant Financial Services Group operates Alipay.
A joint announcement said that Ant Group’s expertise in mobile payment and digital financial services will help boost Wave Money’s technological capabilities to provide greater convenience and security in mobile financial services across Myanmar.
As part of this partnership, Ant Group plans to invest US$73.5m in Wave Money to become a substantial minority stakeholder, alongside existing shareholders Yoma Group2 and Telenor. The Ant Group stake in Wave Money will be made via a new share issue.
Wave Money is a mobile financial services provider in Myanmar. It runs a network of more than 57,000 agents, or ‘Wave Shops’, in urban and rural areas across 295 out of 330 townships nationwide, covering approximately 89% of the country.
In 2019, Wave Money’s transfer volume more than tripled year-on-year reaching MMK6.4tn (US$4.3bn). More than 21 million people have used Wave Money’s platform including Wave Pay for remittances, utility payments, airtime top-ups and digital payments. Since its launch in October 2018, Wave Pay’s monthly active user base has been increasing steadily at 14% per month-on-month.
Brad Jones, CEO of Wave Money, said: “Wave Money is excited to announce this partnership and look forward to accelerating our digital journey with the support and expertise from Ant Group. Myanmar is ready for mass adoption of digital payments with a connected population and high smartphone penetration. This partnership will be transformative for Wave Money and Myanmar.”
Melvyn Pun, CEO of Yoma Strategic, added: “Myanmar’s population is still massively underserved by formal banking institutions with only a quarter of people having a bank account. Ant Group brings a wealth of expertise in mobile payment and financial services. The covid-19 situation is accelerating the trend towards a cashless society and drives the growth of ecommerce, and we expect this strategic partnership to massively boost Wave Money’s capabilities to support these trends.”