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Dubai-based mall oper­a­tor Ma­jid Al Futtaim has ac­quired Beam Por­tal, the owner of UAE mo­bile wal­let app, Beam.

The ac­qui­si­tion grants Ma­jid Al Futtaim own­er­ship of Beam’s IP rights, brand­ing, and e-wal­let ser­vices across the re­gion.

Beam en­ables re­tail­ers to ac­cept mo­bile pay­ments and en­gage with cus­tomers di­rectly through their smart­phones.

The app was re­cently launched in Ma­jid Al Futtaim fash­ion and home re­tail stores in the UAE, and will be ex­panded across all Ma­jid Al Futtaim re­tail stores in 2019, a state­ment said.

As part of the ac­qui­si­tion, Ma­jid Al Futtaim will also ex­pand Beam’s of­fer­ing across the re­gion, and will open it out to other re­tail busi­nesses. The pay­ment plat­form al­ready has a partner net­work of more than 2,000 stores in the UAE.

“The in­te­gra­tion of Beam within our busi­nesses will en­able us to bet­ter serve our cus­tomers and gain a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of their pref­er­ences through mul­ti­ple touch­points,” said Joe Abi Akl, act­ing chief cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer at Ma­jid Al Futtaim.

“As the line be­tween the phys­i­cal and dig­i­tal worlds con­tin­ues to fade, we are in­vest­ing in our dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion to en­sure we are pro­vid­ing cus­tomers with ex­pe­ri­ences they want and need,” he added.

In Oc­to­ber Ma­jid Al Futtaim also an­nounced that it led a $30m fund­ing round by Saudi gro­cery de­liv­ery plat­form Wadi.

Fin­tech start-ups in the GCC re­gion are set to at­tract more than 10 times the fund­ing achieved over the last 10 years in the next decade, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port.

MENA Re­search Partners said it ex­pected in­vest­ment in fin­tech firms to rise from $150m to $2bn as in­creas­ing in­ter­est in dig­i­tal of­fer­ings from banks and gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tives in­clud­ing ac­cel­er­a­tor pro­grammes in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain sup­port the mar­ket.

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