Ant Group has integrated seven e-wallet and payment apps across five different countries into its ‘Alipay+-in-China’ program. The new additions bring the total number of overseas e-wallets accepted in the Chinese mainland to 10.
Alipay+ enables payment partners to connect global and local merchants to cross-border digital consumers. The new additions to the programme include:
- mPay (Macao SAR, China)
- Hipay (Mongolia)
- Changi Pay (Singapore)
- OCBC (Singapore)
- Naver Pay (South Korea)
- Toss Pay (South Korea)
- TrueMoney (Thailand)
AlipayHK (Hong Kong SAR, China), Touch ’n Go eWallet (Malaysia) and Kakao Pay (South Korea) piloted the Program in late 2022. In total, these payment methods reach a population of over 175 million in Southeast and East Asia.
Users of these e-wallets may use their own payment app wherever Alipay works. Using it, they ensure smooth and cashless payment and transparent and competitive exchange rates. They can also enjoy additional promotional deals via Alipay+ Rewards. This is a digital cross-border marketing hub integrated into select wallet apps. The wallets’ teams are also providing familiar customer support to their roaming users, backed by Alipay+’s smart payment tech capabilities.
With the A+China Program, Alipay+ also officially welcomes five new mobile payment partners to its global merchant network. These include:
- Changi Pay
- Naver Pay
- Toss Pay
Outside of China, Alipay+ covers five million merchants in 56 markets. It works with over 20 mobile payment partners across Asia which together serve over 1.4 billion consumer accounts. The A+China Program now extends Alipay+ service to tap into the massive merchant network of China with tens of millions of points of sales (POS).
The A+China Program is made possible by the guidance of the People’s Bank of China and support from NetsUnion Clearing Corporation, e-wallet partners, international card organisations. This is in addition to other partner financial institutions in China. Travelers may also choose to bind their international bank cards to an updated international version of Alipay to enjoy mobile payment and digital life services while in China.
Ant Group is rolling out extensive merchants’ education and marketing campaigns across the Chinese mainland, especially in the top tourist cities, to welcome Asian athletes, fans and travellers.
Douglas Feagin, senior vice president of Ant Group and head of Alipay+ cross-border mobile payment services, said expanding partners and merchant network and enhancing digital operational capabilities of SMEs are key to Alipay+’s future strategy.
Creating greater choice
“A growing variety of mobile payment providers are joining this ecosystem of cross-border digital commerce, from mobile wallets to banking apps, independent merchant apps and super-apps. We will invest faster and deeper in payment and digital marketing technologies. Consequently, we will help our partners and merchants achieve robust, omnichannel growth,” said Feagin.
“We are deeply grateful for the guidance of the People’s Bank of China, the support of the NetsUnion Clearing Corporation, and the assistance from financial institutions and major international card organisations, for helping bring the world’s mobile wallet users and overseas bank card users to China as the Official Payment Partner of the Asian Games,” said Eric Jing, chairman and CEO of Ant Group.
“It is incredibly inspiring to see such regional multi-party partnerships help travellers enjoy greater choice and convenience. Small businesses thrive in cross-border commerce with unprecedented innovations. We look forward to building wider and deeper collaboration to fulfil our shared mission to make the world a better place with the power of digital technologies.”
Capitalising on a strong start
The total number of payments made in China through the pilot A+China wallets – Kakao Pay, Touch ’n Go eWallet and AlipayHK – grew 47 times in six months between March and August 2023. Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen are the favourite cities for travellers from South Korea, Malaysia and Hong Kong SAR. Food and beverage, retail and transportation are the three most common scenarios for these transactions.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers by 2030 the number of cashless transactions will be about double to triple. China leads the region in digital wallet usage. However, the rest of Asia, especially Southeast Asia, has become the world’s fastest-growing mobile payment market. FIS research shows that between 2018 and 2023 digital wallets in the region (excluding China) more than doubled their share of e-commerce transaction value and the share of payment transaction value at point-of-sales grew sixfold.