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Ant Financial has reportedly acquired a stake in Vietnamese e-wallet eMonkey

eMonkey is one of the 32 e-wallets that have received licenses from the State Bank of Vietnam.

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Ant Financial has acquired a substantial stake in Vietnamese mobile wallet eMonkey, paving its entry into Vietnam’s attractive fintech market, according to a Reuters report.

Details about the deal have not been disclosed. The acquisition was apparently negotiated over the summer.

eMonkey is one of the 32 mobile wallets that have received licenses from the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV). It is a product of Hanoi-based M-Pay Trade and Technology Company, which was established in 2008. In 2016, M-Pay was authorized by SBV to provide intermediary payment services—a requirement for all e-wallet providers in the country.

In November, Lazada Vietnam incorporated eMonkey into its platform.

The e-wallet market in Vietnam is extremely crowded, but some providers are pulling ahead of the pack. Statistics from SBV for the second quarter of this year show that the top five e-wallets in transaction numbers in Vietnam are Momo, Payoo, AirPay, Moca, and SenPay.

Many of these mobile wallets are backed by foreign funding. For example, Momo bagged USD 100 million from Warburg Pincus in January, and Moca has been growing alongside Grab’s steady expansion in Vietnam after the two formed a partnership in September 2018.

Vietnamese regulators have been concerned about the encroaching influence of overseas entities in e-payment companies operating within the country. So, they are considering a 49% foreign ownership cap to ensure financial security and a level playing field for domestic enterprises in the fintech sector.

SBV recently issued regulations tightening control over the usage of e-wallets, including capping monthly transaction limits for personal e-wallets at VND 100 million (about USD 4,300) and requiring e-wallets to be linked to a domestic bank account.

Vietnam’s fintech firms secured investments worth a sum of USD 410 million between January and September this year. Only in Singapore have fintech firms found higher levels of financing, according to a report by UOB, PwC, and the Singapore Fintech Association.