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Ant Group creates an everywhere Asia mobile payment ecosystem

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I haven't written about Ant and Alipay for a while, but did notice this press release the other day which is significant. The company is is now creating a payment ecosystem for Asian e-wallets. It's not just Chinese. It's everywhere Asia. Take note:

Ant Group Introduces 10 Asian E-Wallets to Chinese Mainland in Major Expansion of Alipay+ Cross-Border Mobile Payment Ecosystem

  • A global first, the “Alipay+-in-China” (A+China) Program makes it possible for users of 10 leading mobile wallets in Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR, to use home e-wallets in the Chinese mainland, covering a total population of over 175 million. It also represents the expansion of Alipay+ cross-border mobile payment ecosystem to tap into the mass merchant network of China.
  • A+China Program is Ant Group’s initiative to help introduce international mobile payment services in China in collaboration with e-wallet partners and international card organizations ahead of the Hangzhou Asian Games.
  • Under the Program, 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 officially welcomes seven new leading e-wallets and payment apps from Asia to the “Alipay+-in-China” Program (A+China Program). Users of mPay (Macao SAR, China), Hipay (Mongolia), Changi Pay (Singapore), OCBC (Singapore), Naver Pay (South Korea), Toss Pay (South Korea) and TrueMoney (Thailand) will be able to use their familiar home e-wallet on their own phone to enjoy seamless mobile payment experience in the Chinese mainland across Alipay’s vast merchant network.

“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 to help our partners and merchants achieve robust, omni-channel growth”

The new additions bring the total number of overseas e-wallets accepted in the Chinese mainland to 10. 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, to enjoy secure, smooth and cashless payment, and transparent and competitive exchange rates. They can also enjoy additional promotional deals via Alipay+ Rewards, 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, including Hipay, Changi Pay, OCBC, Naver Pay and Toss Pay to its global merchant network.

A suite of cross-border mobile payment, marketing and digitalization solutions developed by the International Business Group of Ant Group, Alipay+ enables payment partners to connect global and local merchants to cross-border digital consumers.

Outside of China, Alipay+ covers 5 million merchants in 56 markets, and 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 organizations as well as 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 travelers.

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.

“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 to help our partners and merchants achieve robust, omni-channel growth,” said Feagin.

“As the chartered clearing institution of the People's Bank of China, NetsUnion Clearing Corporation provides secure and efficient transaction information interchange and fund clearing services for cross-border mobile payments of Ant Group and overseas digital wallets. We are committed to providing robust support for important cross-border mobile payment scenarios and events such as the Hangzhou Asian Games, to help nurture an open and inclusive cross-border consumption environment in China, and promote high-quality dual circulation of domestic and global economic cycles,” said the NetsUnion Clearing Corporation of China.

“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 organizations, 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 partnership help travelers enjoy greater choice and convenience, and small businesses thrive in cross-border commerce with unprecedented innovations. We look forward to building wider and deeper collaboration to fulfill our shared mission to make the world a better place with the power of digital technologies.”

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 favorite cities for travelers 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 PricewaterhouseCoopers1, by 2030 the number of cashless transactions will be about double to triple. While China leads the region in digital wallet usage, the rest of Asia, especially Southeast Asia, has become the world's fastest growing mobile payment market. FIS research2 shows that between 2018 and 2023 digital wallets in the region (excluding China) more than doubled their share of e-commerce transaction value and share of payment transaction value at point-of-sales grow six folds.

About Ant Group

Ant Group aims to build the infrastructure and platforms to support the digital transformation of the service industry. Through continuous innovation, we strive to provide all consumers and small and micro businesses equal access to digital financial and other daily life services that are convenient, sustainable and inclusive.

For more information, please visit our website at www.antgroup.com or follow us on Twitter @AntGroup.

About Alipay+

Alipay+ is a suite of cross-border digital payment, marketing and digitalization solutions that help connect global merchants to consumers. Consumers enjoy seamless payment and a broad choice of deals using their preferred payment methods while travelling abroad. Small and medium-sized businesses may use Alipay+ digital tools to enhance efficiency and achieve omni-channel growth.

1 https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/financial-services/publications/financial-services-in-2025/payments-in-2025.html

2 https://www.fisglobal.com/en/global-payments-report

 

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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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