Ant Financial, the payment affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, will invest $200m in Kakao Pay, the mobile finance subsidiary of South Korean messaging platform Kakao.

The companies in a joint press statement said that the investment is part of a larger strategic partnership to connect Ant’s 450 million global users with Kakao Pay.

As part of the agreement, Ant Financial will provide an array of digital financial services through Kakao Pay in South Korea.

By merging Alipay’s 34,000 merchants into Kakao Pay’s system, the new company will increase the number of online and offline merchants providing them a much larger customer base.

Ant Financial International president Douglas Feagin said: “South Korea is an important market for Ant Financial in its global expansion, and we see many opportunities in the market for innovative services and growth in mobile payments.

“Given Kakao’s leading mobile platform offering and vast customer base, we believe we can bring Ant Financial’s broad experience in digital payments and technology-driven financial services to offer exciting and innovative products to South Korean customers.”

Earlier in January, Ant Financial agreed to acquire the US money-transfer firm MoneyGram International for $880m.

Furthermore, Ant also has invested in Indian mobile payment and e-commerce website Paytm and Thai financial technology firm Ascend Money.

Last week, the company announced an undisclosed investment into payments service firm Mynt, a unit of Philippine-based Globe Telecom.