• Alipay Payment Service

Alipay Payment Service (Photo : Getty Images)

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group continues with its brand expansion in Southeast Asia as Ant Financial, Alibaba's payment affiliate, acquired helloPay Group, a Singapore-based payment service, Reuters reported.

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Ant said in a statement on Wednesday, April 19, that helloPay will be rebranded as Alipay in some markets such as Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. HelloPay is a payment subsidiary of Lazada, which was acquired by Alibaba for $1 billion last year.

Although rebranded, helloPay service will continue to operate independently from Alipay's existing app. Alipay is China's most popular payment app, with more than 450 million users.

Ant did not provide details about the financial terms of the acquisition deal, the report said.

To boost Alipay, Ant Financial has invested in a number of payment firms in Asia, but the helloPay's acquisition is its first venture into rebranding a company under its name.

The move is also part of Ant's effort to improve brand recognition in markets where helloPay operates, according to the report.

Last week, Ant also announced a partnership with Indonesia's Elang Mahkota Teknologi (Emtek) to introduce a mobile payments service.

Earlier this year, the Alibaba affiliate also announced plans to invest in Filipino payment firm Mynt.

This week, Ant outplayed Euronet Worldwide Inc. in a bidding war for MoneyGram International Inc, valued at $1.2 billion.

Together with Ant's recent investments in Asia, MoneyGram would play an essential role in the company's goal to expand its payments infrastructure beyond China and enable Alibaba to expand its e-commerce business into other markets.

Based on figures released in the 2016 deal, Alibaba owns nearly two-thirds shares in Lazada, with an option to buy the remaining stakes from its shareholders 12 to 18 months after the deal closes.

Ant said that helloPay will begin operating under the Alipay brand starting on April 19.

HelloPay was launched by Lazada as the payment service for its e-commerce platform in 2014.