World Markets

Vodacom partners with China's Alipay to create 'super app' in South Africa

Credit: REUTERS/CHINA STRINGER NETWORK

Vodacom Group plans to create a 'super app' in partnership with digital payment provider Alipay, part of China's Alibaba group, to allow consumers in South Africa to shop online, pay bills and send money to family from next year.

JOHANNESBURG, July 20 (Reuters) - Vodacom Group VODJ.J plans to create a 'super app' in partnership with digital payment provider Alipay, part of China's Alibaba group BABA.N, to allow consumers in South Africa to shop online, pay bills and send money to family from next year.

The app will also help small to medium enterprises (SME) access financial services such as lending and insurance, the two companies said in a joint statement on Monday.

Vodacom and other mobile operators in South Africa are seeking to expand their mobile payment apps into online market places to leverage their network and customer base.

They are also looking to tap more than 11 million South Africans who do not have bank accounts, to offer lending and other financial services.

South Africa's biggest mobile operator by subscribers, MTN MTNJ.J, plans to offer a similar app, while Telkom TKGJ.J has repurposed its almost 70-year old Yellow Pages telephone directory business into an online market place app called Yep.

"This partnership is a significant milestone in promoting greater financial inclusion within the communities in which we operate, accelerating our financial services aspirations across Africa," Vodacom Group Chief Executive Shameel Joosub said in the statement.

The super app, much like WeChat, a platform developed by Tencent Holdings Ltd 0700.hk in China, will be operated by Vodacom Financial Services, with Alipay as the technology provider, the firms said in their statement.

Alipay is owned by Ant Financial ANTFIN.UL, the financial affiliate of the Alibaba Group Holdings.

The partnership will be a growth opportunity for Vodacom Financial Services, which in just four years has grown from a loss-making entity into a business with more than 12 million customers and contributes 1 billion rand ($59.98 million) in profit to the Vodacom Group, the mobile operator said.

The app will also allow consumers to stream music and follow news.

($1 = 16.6722 rand)

(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Susan Fenton)

((nqobile.dludla@thomsonreuters.com; +27115952816; Reuters Messaging: nqobile.dludla.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

In This Story

BABA VOD

Other Topics

US Markets

Latest World Markets Videos

    Citi of Beijing Said to Propose Taking Didi Under State Control

    Beijing’s municipal-government is reportedly proposing having state-run firms acquire a stake in Didi Global Inc. and take control of the world’s largest ride-hailing company. Bloomberg’s John Liu reports.

    Sep 3, 2021

    Reuters

    Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest international multimedia news provider reaching more than one billion people every day. Reuters provides trusted business, financial, national, and international news to professionals via Thomson Reuters desktops, the world's media organizations, and directly to consumers at Reuters.com and via Reuters TV.

    Learn More