Investing.com – Ant Financial, a fintech company of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (HK:9988; NYSE:BABA), is said to have quietly acquired a substantial number of shares in Vietnamese e-wallet provider eMonkey.
The strategic investment is Ant’s eighth international deal. Ant will not control more than 50% of eMonkey, but will hold a sizable stake and offer technical support to the e-wallet provider.
Established by the Vietnamese fintech company M-Pay Trade, eMonkey is said to have obtained its operating license from the State Bank of Vietnam. M-Pay also partners with most of Vietnam’s largest banks and telecom companies.
Vietnam recorded the highest e-commerce growth in the region, mainly due to the fact that a quarter of its 100 million people are under 25.
Reuters reported that the deal moved ahead quietly to avoid pushback amid anti-China sentiment in the Southeast Asian country. Disputes over maritime claims and China-backed special economic zones have remained unresolved between China and Vietnam.
“It makes sense that Chinese investors — including those who see the Vietnamese market as having a ton of consumer potential, as well as those diversifying into that country as part of the trade war — may want to keep a low profile,” Nick Marro, global trade lead at the Economist Intelligence Unit, told Reuters.