Home Mobile Ant Group beefs up customer base for Hong Kong merchants by adding 14 foreign mobile payment apps to its network

Ant Group beefs up customer base for Hong Kong merchants by adding 14 foreign mobile payment apps to its network

China’s financial technology giant Ant Group has ramped up its digital payments network by partnering with 14 overseas mobile payment apps, which will give Hong Kong’s merchants access to a swathe of countries with a total population of around 1.2 billion.

Overseas travellers from nine countries and regions can make payments in Hong Kong using their home wallet apps through Alipay+, a widely-used cross-border mobile payment service operated by Ant International. The company is an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding, owner of the South China Morning Post.

The overseas apps are based in a wide range of countries. GCash and HelloMoney from the Philippines, Mongolia’s Hipay, South Korea’s Kakao Pay, Naver Pay and Toss Pay, Thailand’s TrueMoney and Italy’s Tinaba are among those that have signed up to this agreement.

“We are so excited to help users of our 14 wallet partners to expand their presence to over 90 per cent of local merchants through AlipayHK’s network,” said Venetia Lee, the chief executive officer of AlipayHK and Greater China general manager of Ant International at a press conference on Thursday.

“This allows hassle-free payments, promotes the development of Hong Kong’s tourism industry, and helps local merchants enhance the effectiveness of their promotional activities through digital technology,” Lee said.

Ant International’s Alipay+ lets small merchants, such as this shop in Tokyo, accept payments directly from foreign digital wallets. Photo: Xinmei Shen

Users of these e-wallets can make payments for goods and services at local shops in Hong Kong by scanning the merchant’s AlipayHK or Alipay+ payment codes. However, digital payment solutions currently exclude payments for public transport services.

“We are thrilled that GCash has partnered with Alipay+,” said Paul Albano, general manager of GCash International, the Philippines’ payment services provider with 94 million users.

“Around 6 million Filipinos travelled outside the Philippines in 2023. Hong Kong is one of the top destinations, given its proximity to the Philippines. We are excited to have access to 90 per cent of shops here and continue to use GCash in Hong Kong.”

Overseas Chinese tourists back as Alipay transactions up 7 per cent from 2019

Albano mentioned raising awareness back home that Filipinos now can use Gcash in Hong Kong is one thing he focused on after the official launch.

Lee said Alipay+ partners’ wallet users will benefit from discounts and coupons by local merchants and from Alipay+’s “transparent and competitive exchange rates” in Hong Kong.

Although Alipay+ did not set transaction limitations for partner wallet users, some partners have cross-border limitations. For example, Malaysia’s TNG eWallet caps cross-border transactions at 20,000 ringgit (US$4,184), according to the company.

In addition to Hong Kong, Alipay+ partner wallets are accepted at other major global destinations, such as mainland China, Macau, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

The initiatives follow the release of guidelines by China’s State Council in March. It called for providing “higher-quality, more effective and more convenient payment services” to foreign visitors.

Alipay is one of the biggest payment apps in mainland China, home to the world’s largest cashless society. In September, it raised foreign visitors’ transaction limits, following new guidelines by Chinese authorities to deliver more convenient payment services for foreign visitors.



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