Today Kenanga Investment Bank announced a deal with Ant Group to use Ant’s mobile technology solution for its ‘Wealth SuperApp’. That’s a reference to the multitude of services in the app, including stock trading, crypto trading, forex, and a wallet. Ant Group is the parent of China’s largest payments app AliPay.
“We look forward to not only unifying a broad spectrum of financial offerings under one roof, but more importantly, to make wealth creation more accessible by democratising financial services for the millions of Malaysians around the country who want better, swifter and cheaper access to financial products and solutions,” said Datuk Chay Wai Leong, Kenanga’s Group Managing Director.
Ant provides a wide range of technology services, including the mobile Platform as a Service (mPaaS) that Kenanga plans to use to develop its solution. Apart from mPaaS, Ant also has AntChain, its consortium blockchain solution, and Trusple, the blockchain-based trade finance platform.
One question is how involved Ant will be in the solution’s crypto aspect, given China’s crypto crackdown. However, the app is not for China. Also this deal is for technology, so Kenanga will likely integrate a crypto solution of its choice.
Ant was planning to list on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in November 2020 when the government suspended the IPO that intended to raise $34 billion. There were probably multiple reasons for the government’s actions, but a very forthright speech by Ant founder Jack Ma was a likely contributor. During the talk, he spoke passionately about digital currency, saying it was too early to set standards that could limit innovation, a sideswipe at the digital yuan.
He also compared the Basel Accord for banking to a treatment for Alzheimer’s. And Ma said the critical financial risk in China is a lack of a financial system.
Since that time, there has been an extensive clamp down on all the big techs in China. Ant is converting into a financial holding company and the Wall Street Journal reported that Jack Ma is planning to cede control.
Meanwhile, another Chinese big tech, Baidu, is getting involved in NFTs and crypto in Japan.