Ant International, a Singapore-headquartered digital payment and FinTech firm, has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia (MISA) to expand its business into the Kingdom.

The duo said in a statement on Monday that through this partnership, MISA welcomes and supports Ant International’s expansion plan to establish an entity in Saudi Arabia, enabling assistance when acquiring licenses and certificates to expand and enhance its service offerings.

Meanwhile, Ant International 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 will benefit from riding the wave of digitalization to achieve further growth, said the statement.

Ant International’s President, Douglas Feagin, met with Eng Saleh Khabti, Deputy Minister of Investment of Saudi Arabia during a signing ceremony held in Riyadh, to welcome the new partnership and sign an agreement outlining shared goals for technological innovation and economic growth opportunities in Saudi Arabia.

“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,

“We are seeing tremendous growth in digital payments in Saudi Arabia and we expect this trend to continue with Ant International’s expansion which will further boost the financial services sector in the Kingdom,” said Eng Saleh Khabti, Deputy Minister for Investment at MISA.

Douglas Feagin, President of Ant International, said that they see an enormous opportunity for expansion in the Middle East and in particular Saudi Arabia, which has been supportive of technological innovations and digitalization, empowering its businesses to thrive.

“Through our agreement with MISA, Ant International enters an exciting new chapter of opportunity within Saudi Arabia,

“We’re delighted to build upon our progress in the Middle East to support merchants’ access to our world class payment solutions and inclusive financial services, providing Saudi businesses with various tools to grow and benefit from international travel and trade,” he added.

According to the statement, Ant International’s strategy is comprised of four services for global merchants: (i) Alipay+ cross-border mobile payment and digitalization technology solutions, (ii) Antom merchant payment services, (iii) WorldFirst digital payment and financial services for cross-border trade, and (iv) ANEXT Bank, a digital wholesale bank regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and other embedded financial services.

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