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Chinese fintech Ant to expand into Saudi Arabia
Digital payment, services firm will use Gulf kingdom as a key gateway into Middle East
The Asset 7 May 2024

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment and Chinese digital payment and services firm Ant International have signed a memorandum of understanding to facilitate the fintech’s expansion into the Gulf kingdom.

The partnership agreement outlines the shared goals for technological innovation and economic growth opportunities in Saudi Arabia.

The ministry welcomes and supports Ant’s expansion plan to establish an entity in Saudi Arabia and it will assist the fintech when acquiring licences and certificates.

The Chinese fintech will use Saudi Arabia as a key gateway into the Middle East to further expand the reach of its payment and financial services. Local merchants of all sizes, it adds, will benefit from riding the wave of digitalization to achieve further growth.

The fintech’s strategy is comprised of four services for global merchants:

  • Alipay+ cross-border mobile payment and digitalization technology solutions
  • Antom merchant payment services
  • WorldFirst digital payment and financial services for cross-border trade
  • ANEXT Bank, a digital wholesale bank regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and other embedded financial services.

“We have worked closely with Ant International on its expansion into the kingdom, which will not only benefit thousands of merchants across the country but potentially hundreds of thousands of businesses right across the Middle East,” states Eng Saleh Khabti, the kingdom’s deputy minister for investment. “We are seeing tremendous growth in digital payments in Saudi Arabia, and we expect this trend to continue with Ant’s expansion, which will further boost the financial services sector in the kingdom.”

Douglas Feagin, Ant’s president, adds: “We see an enormous opportunity for expansion in the Middle East and, in particular, in Saudi Arabia, which has been supportive of technological innovations and digitalization, empowering its businesses to thrive.”

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