The Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia (MISA) has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Singapore-based digital payment and financial services platform Ant International to help the latter expand its business in Saudi Arabia to bolster regional digital innovation.

The MoU puts forth the shared goals of the parties in driving technological innovation and exploring economic growth opportunities in the Middle Eastern country.

MISA Deputy Minister for Investment Saleh Khabti said: “We have worked closely with Ant International on its expansion into the Kingdom which will not only benefit thousands of merchants across the country but potentially hundreds of thousands of businesses right across the Middle East.

“We are seeing tremendous growth in digital payments in Saudi Arabia and we expect this trend to continue with Ant International’s expansion which will further boost the financial services sector in the Kingdom.”

The collaboration also enables MISA to extend its support for Ant International’s expansion plan to set up an entity in Saudi Arabia. It will allow assistance while acquiring licences and certificates to expand and improve the Singapore-based firm’s service offerings.

Ant International plans to leverage Saudi Arabia as a significant entry point into the Middle East, aiming to bolster the accessibility of its payment and financial offerings.

Businesses of all sizes are expected to gain from embracing the tide of digital transformation for achieving further growth.

Ant International offers four services for global merchants. They are namely Alipay+ cross-border mobile payment and digitalisation technology solutions, Antom merchant payment services, WorldFirst digital payment and financial services for cross-border trade, and a digital wholesale bank dubbed ANEXT Bank.

Ant International president Douglas Feagin said: “Through our agreement with MISA, Ant International enters an exciting new chapter of opportunity within Saudi Arabia.

“We’re delighted to build upon our progress in the Middle East to support merchants’ access to our world class payment solutions and inclusive financial services, providing Saudi businesses with various tools to grow and benefit from international travel and trade.”