The leading mobile financial services provider of Bangladesh, bKash Limited ("bKash") and Ant Financial Services Group ("Ant Financial"), operator of China's Alipay, have announced a strategic partnership to promote financial inclusion for the unbanked and underbanked communities in Bangladesh on Thursday in Dkaka.
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," Kamal Quadir, chief executive officer of bKash was quoted as saying in the statement.
"This investment opens many new opportunities for bKash and demonstrates the confidence a world-class player is placing in Bangladesh," said Quadir.
"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 ... 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 Bangladeshi 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 and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have been shareholders in bKash since 2013 and 2014 respectively.