Alibaba’s Ant Financial buys UK’s WorldFirst

By Chris Dawson February 15, 2019 - 10:54 am

WorldFirst is now part of Alibaba’s Ant Financial group in what’s thought to be a deal in the region of $700m.

In order to clear the deal, it’s now clear that WorldFirst divested their US operations to side step US regulatory scrutiny as Shareholders approved the deal.

“The tie up will add WorldFirst’s international online payments and virtual account products to Alipay’s broad range of technology solutions, enabling us to reach a greater number of customers, especially in the fast growing area of cross-border e-commerce”
– Alipay

If you are a customer of WorldFirst then don’t worry – it’s business as usual. The company will continue to operate as a UK-headquartered and regulated business with global operations (including Chinese mainland and Hong Kong) and will simply become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ant Financial. WorldFIrst will continue to work with their customers exactly as they have in the past. All current customer and account information will also remain unchanged.

The products and services of Alipay and WorldFirst are highly complementary. In addition to serving more than 1 billion users around the world together with its local e-wallet partners, Alipay works with over 250 overseas financial institutions and payment solution providers to enable cross-border payments for Chinese travellers overseas, as well as overseas customers who purchase products from Chinese ecommerce sites.

“We are excited about the upcoming opportunities to serve our partners better. We believe that becoming a part of the Ant Financial group and of the wider Alibaba ecosystem will create opportunities for us to grow our existing relationship with you, and in time we will be able to offer even better products and services to you and your customers as we maximise the benefits that will come from being a part of a larger group.”
– Jonathan Quin, CEO & Co-Founder, WorldFirst

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Featured in this article from the Tamebay Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.


WORLDFIRST can help online sellers to repatriate funds at better exchange rates than the major marketplaces.


Alibaba is China’s biggest online commerce company that offers consumer-to-consumer, business-to-consumer and business-to-business sales.

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