Ecommerce giant Rocket Internet and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) took a big step towards their goal of becoming a strong contender in online payments in the region.
In a joint statement, the companies announced they’ve inked an agreement to form a 50-50 joint venture for online and mobile payment solutions, with a focus on emerging markets.
This follows PLDT’s US$445 million investment in the Germany-based startup incubator, a transaction that marked the start of a strategic partnership to develop services catering to “unbanked, uncarded, and unconnected” populations.
Manila-based PLDT will throw in the intellectual property and business operations of its mobile-first payment platform Smart e-Money into the joint venture. For its part, Rocket Internet will contribute its “participations” in two payment platforms it helped set up: Paymill and Payleven.
Smart e-Money is a pioneer in mobile banking and ewallets, handling transactions valued at about EUR 3.4 billion (US$4.06 billion) in 2013. Rocket Internet’s epayment services, on the other hand, cater to high growth, small and medium ecommerce businesses across Europe.
The joint venture particularly targets Rocket Internet’s ecommerce operations under brands such as Zalora and Lazada in Southeast Asia. Prior to this deal, the companies had begun making use of PLDT’s MePay. MePay is a payment service for shopping on Zalora’s site without a credit card.
The joint venture agreement is subject to regulatory approval, and will likely close within the first quarter.