British banking group Standard Chartered has inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Ant Financial, the payment arm of Alibaba, to increase access to financial services in countries along China’s “Belt & Road Initiative” route.
The MOU will integrate Standard Chartered’s emerging markets expertise with Ant Financial’s fintech capabilities. However, the firms did not disclose any specific plans.
Standard Chartered, which has nearly 1,000 branches and outlets across 65 countries and regions, said that 69% of its global footprint already overlaps with the Belt and Road countries. The bank has already collaborated with Ant Financial in funding settlement, FX services and Alipay wallet related solutions since 2012.
Standard Chartered chairman Jose Vinals said: :The MOU marks a new era of the cooperation between the most dynamic TechFin company and the most active international bank in emerging markets.
“Built on our joint commitment to inclusive financial services, and with the combination of cutting-edge technology and banking expertise, we aspire to explore and make due contributions to broaden access to inclusive financial services along the Belt & Road route.”