China’s Ant Group to help Malaysia launch crypto-friendly 'super app'

Malaysia continues accelerating its pace of cryptocurrency adoption as one of the major local banks is moving into cryptocurrency trading as part of its default banking offerings.

Kenanga Investment Bank Berhad, one of the largest private investment banks with more than 500,000 customers, has partnered with China’s tech giant Ant Group to launch a crypto-friendly wallet and trading app.

According to an announcement on Wednesday, Kenanga has signed a memorandum of understanding with Ant to jointly develop Malaysia’s wealth application called categorized as a super app. Under the terms of the agreement, Ant’s digital technology unit will provide Kenanga with mPaaS, a mobile development platform originating from AliPay App.

“Adopted by many businesses to build new apps and optimize the performance of existing apps, our financial-grade mPaaS mobile development platform is well-positioned to support Kenanga in integrating a wide range of products and services into its SuperApp,” At’s digital tech president Geoff Jiang noted.

The SuperApp is designed to revolutionize the way of managing wealth in Malaysia by integrating diverse financial services — like stock trading, digital investment management, crypto trading, digital wallet, foreign currency exchange and others — into a single platform. Kenanga reportedly plans to launch the app in early 2023.

“We look forward to not only unifying a broad spectrum of financial offerings under one roof, but more importantly, to make wealth creation more accessible by democratizing financial services for the millions of Malaysians,” Kenanga Group managing director Datuk Chay Wai Leong said.

He also mentioned that Kenanga started experimenting with digital financial services five years ago, and the new application would bring the company’s growth to the next level. As previously reported, Kenanga has been an active player in the crypto industry, investing in local crypto exchange operators like Tokenize Technology in 2021.

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Kenanga is also a known partner of the Japanese crypto-friendly retail firm Rakuten, providing Malaysia’s local online stock trading platform Rakuten Trade.

The cryptocurrency industry has seen some action in Malaysia in recent months, with local officials reportedly calling the government to legalize crypto in March 2022. While crypto investment and trading have been legal in Malaysia, the government opposed the idea of adopting crypto as legal tender.

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