Ten­pay, Ali­pay li­censes key to over­seas growth

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By FANFEIFEI in Bei­jing and LUOWEITENG in Hong Kong You may con­tact the writ­ers through fanfeifei@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Mo­bile pay­ment li­censes from Hong Kong’s fi­nan­cial au­thor­i­ties to two main­land pay­ment op­er­a­tors are seen as a key step in their over­seas strate­gic ex­pan­sion and are ex­pected to boost their busi­ness in the city, an­a­lysts said on Fri­day.

Ten­cent Hold­ings Ltd and Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd’s fi­nan­cial af­fil­i­ate Ant Fi­nan­cial were granted li­censes from the Hong Kong Mon­e­tary Au­thor­ity on Thurs­day to op­er­ate their mo­bile pay­ments there, the first li­cense the two tech gi­ants have ob­tained over­seas.

It means the two com­pa­nies can not only con­tinue to serve re­tail stores in HongKong, but also pro­vide dig­i­tal wal­lets and mer­chant dis­counts for their Hong Kong cus­tomers.

Peng Yi­jie, vice-pres­i­dent of Ant Fi­nan­cial’s in­ter­na­tional busi­ness, said its li­cense was a boost for Ali­pay as it has long been seek­ing to of­fer con­ve­nient non-cash pay­ment ser­vices to Hong Kong res­i­dents.

Ali­pay en­tered Hong Kong in 2007. It is es­ti­mated that by July about 6,000 bricks-and­mor­tar stores in Hong Kong have of­fered Ali­pay’s pay­ment ser­vice.

Ten­cent said it has made ef­forts to ex­pand its mo­bile pay­ment so­lu­tion Ten­pay in Hong Kong af­ter win­ning the li­cense, adding that Hong Kong is a key area for its over­seas ex­pan­sion.

The HKMA on Thurs­day is­sued the first five stored value fa­cil­i­ties (SVF) li­censes to Ali­pay, Ten­pay, HKT Pay­ment, TNG and Oc­to­pus.

HKMA Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Nor­man Chan said the li­cences were a land­mark event. “The grant of the first batch of li­cences for SVF is­suers is turn­ing a new page in the re­tail pay­ment de­vel­op­ment in Hong Kong.”

Hong Kong res­i­dents of­ten use Oc­to­pus, an elec­tronic pay­ment sys­tem us­ing a con­tact­less smart card as well as credit cards as their main pay­ment meth­ods.

One an­a­lyst said the mo­bile pay­ment industry in Hong Kong was rel­a­tively back­ward. Although main­land pay­ment tools Ali­pay and Ten­pay have ap­peared in Hong Kong in the past years, they mainly served main­land tourists when they go shop­ping in Hong Kong, he said.

Li Chao, an an­a­lyst at re­search firm iRe­search Con­sult­ing Group, told China Daily that the two tech gi­ants see Hong Kong as an im­por­tant base for their global ex­pan­sion.

“How­ever, we still need time to see whether HongKong res­i­dents are will­ing to ac­cept these mo­bile pay­ment meth­ods due to dif­fer­ences in cul­ture and habits,” he said.

AN XIN / FOR CHINA DAILY

A sign at a store in Nan­jing, Jiangsu prov­ince, tells con­sumers they may use Ali­pay or Ten­pay to pay.

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