Thailand's Central, China's launch financial services app Dolfin

Credit: REUTERS/Aly Song

By Chayut Setboonsarng

BANGKOK, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Thailand's largest retailer, Central Group, and China's JD.O on Monday launched an financial services app to expand services with local banks in the latest move by the mall operator to increase its digital presence.

The app, called Dolfin, will include an e-wallet function, digital lending platform, as well as insurance and wealth management, the joint venture, JD Central Fintech, said.

"We aim to have 400,000 users by the end of the year and 1.5 million next year," Chief Executive Rungruang Sukkirdkijpiboon, said in an interview.

Siam Commercial Bank Pcl SCB.BK, Kasikornbank Pcl KBANK.BK and Bangkok Bank Pcl BBL.BK are partners and the Bank of Ayudhya BAY.BK will join later, he said adding that the platform will help banks tailor insurance and mutual fund products for its customers.

The announcement comes as Thai companies roll out financial services partnerships with e-commerce platforms and ride-hailing services.

Last week, the country's largest lender, Siam Commercial Bank, announced a partnership to expand digital lending and payments with Sea Thailand, a unit of Tencent-backed Sea Group.

Dolfin is able to process credit cards payments, the government's e-payment system, PromptPay and also top up its e-wallet, he said

A merchant version of the app will be rolled out next year for small businesses and Central's mall tenants, Rungruang said, adding that merchant data can be used to support bank loans.

JD Central Fintech is part of Central's $500 million joint venture with China's second largest e-commerce platform in Thailand, which also has a separate e-commerce unit that competes with other online shopping platforms such as Alibaba's Lazada BABA.N and Sea Group's Shopee 0700.HKSE.N in Thailand, both of which have digital wallets.

Central Group, owned by the billionaire Chirativat family, plans to file for the listing of Central Retail Crop by the year-end. Refinitiv IFR has pegged the IPO size at between $1 billion and $2 billion.

(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng, editing by Louise Heavens)

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