The leading mobile financial services provider of Bangladesh, bKash Limited (“bKash”) and Ant Financial Services Group (“Ant Financial”), operator of Alipay, today announced a strategic partnership to promote financial inclusion for the unbanked and underbanked communities in Bangladesh. The partnership involves Ant Financial investing into bKash and increasing its technological capabilities, allowing it to provide greater convenience and security in mobile financial services throughout Bangladesh.
Established in 2010 by founding shareholders, BRAC Bank Limited and Money in Motion LLC, bKash is running a network of more than 180,000 agents throughout urban and rural areas of Bangladesh with over 30 million registered accounts.
“Along with its investment, Alipay brings the best payment technologies built by thousands of engineers and the knowledge of applying those technologies to economies like China which went through a massive transformation in recent years. Such track record makes Ant Financial a fitting partner for bKash since Bangladesh too has a large population of 160 million and an economy that is advancing rapidly. This investment opens many new opportunities for bKash and demonstrates the confidence a world-class player is placing in Bangladesh,”said Kamal Quadir, Chief Executive Officer of bKash.
“Ant Financial and bKash share similar goals, in that we want to bring equal opportunities to everyone here in Bangladesh. bKash can tap on the experience Alipay has built over the last decade serving 800 million users together with our strategic partners worldwide. As part of Ant Financial’s global strategy, we are keen to share our technology know-how with partners like bKash, who has successfully brought financial services to the largely unbanked population in Bangladesh. bKash is managed by a strong team with deep local knowledge and execution capabilities. We are confident, together with bKash, we can bring highly secure and inclusive financial services to address the needs of local people and small businesses here,” said Eric Jing, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ant Financial.
“bKash, a company taking financial services to the doorsteps of millions of unbanked people in Bangladesh, will benefit immensely from this landmark partnership with Ant Financial. It will help bKash significantly step up its activities in changing and positively impacting on the lives of millions,” said Selim R. F. Hussain, Managing Director and CEO of BRAC Bank.
bKash and Ant Financial were both named in Fortune Change The World 2017 list, a recognition given to companies that have had a positive social impact through activities that are part of their core business strategy.
International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have been shareholders in bKash, since 2013 and 2014 respectively.
bKash provides a safe, convenient platform to store limited fund and easy ways to make payments and fund transfer services via basic mobile phones to both the unbanked and the underbanked people of Bangladesh. Licensed by Bangladesh Central Bank in 2010, bKash is a subsidiary of BRAC Bank Limited with operational engagement with 15 different banks. With a social uplifting agenda and focus on business viability, bKash launched its services in 2011 and today operates with over 30 million registered accounts, making it a household name for providing access to regulated mobile financial services for the general mass of Bangladesh.
Operated by Ant Financial Services Group, Alipay is the world’s leading third-party payment platform. Launched in 2004, Alipay and its strategic partners in overseas markets currently have over 800 million users. Within the Alipay App, users can obtain information on various business establishments, complete online and offline shopping payments and also choose from a wide range of wealth management and other services aimed at providing a more convenient way of life. In China, over 40 million brick-and-mortar merchants now accept Alipay. Overseas, Alipay now covers 40 countries and regions to provide more diversified services for Chinese travelling overseas.
About BRAC Bank
BRAC Bank Limited, a leading private commercial Bank in Bangladesh, began its operations in July 2001 with an aim to take formal financial solution to the unbanked Small and Medium Enterprises. Today, it provides more than 65% of the market’s collateral free small ticket loans to more than 150 thousand SME entrepreneurs. Over the past 16 years the bank has emerged as a strong financial solutions provider focusing on SME, Retail and Wholesale Businesses. With 186 branches, 447 ATMs, 90 CDMs and 457 SME Unit Offices and a team of over 6,500 employees, BRAC Bank caters to more than 1.5 million customers through its diversified range of banking products and services. As a founding member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, BRAC Bank involves itself in values based banking that impacts the society, environment and economy.
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