Japanese airline ANA to enter mobile payments market

Japan airline ANA aims to build digital payments business — Financial Times — “The plan is part of a broader digital push by ANA, which hopes to build on data collected from the 31m users of its airline miles to provide a range of services including real estate, insurance and health to consumers across Japan… ‘We are aiming for ANA’s version of Alibaba’s Alipay,’ Shinya Katanozaka, ANA’s chief executive, said in an interview.”


Ant Financial seeks US$9bn in new funding

Jack Ma’s Ant Financial to raise $9bn, become world’s biggest unicorn — Wall Street Journal — “Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s financial technology business is about to vault into the ranks of the world’s most valuable companies. Ant Financial Services Group, carved out of his e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd seven years ago, is preparing to raise US$9bn in a private funding round, according to people familiar with the matter. That ups a previous fundraising target of US$5bn.”


China goes live with QR payments spending cap

China caps store mobile payments at $80 — Nikkei Asian Review — “The People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, implemented the caps on Sunday for different types of QR code payments, based on relative risk. For payments made by scanning a printed QR code displayed by the seller, the daily limit is set at 500 yuan (about US$80)… Such popular services as Alibaba Group Holding’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings’ WeChat Pay are affected.”


Vehicle vending machine lets drivers book, pay and drive away a test car from their mobile phone

Ford, Alibaba roll out test-drive services via ‘auto vending machine’ — China Automotive News — “Users can book a test drive via the Alibaba’s Taobao mobile app or the Tmall platform. Entering a key word of ‘super test drive’, users can follow the instructions from the interface to select the vehicles they want and the time to have the test drive. To schedule a test drive, users should submit their basic information and upload their selfies on the platform. Besides, they need to pay some test drive fees and the money for vehicle purchasing intention. After all these done, consumers can pick up their test vehicle via a facial recognition at the ‘super test drive center’ in Guangzhou to enjoy a three-day ride.”



Alipay parent Ant Financial to go public at a $100bn valuation?

China’s Ant plans equity fundraising at potential $100 billion valuation — Reuters — “China’s Ant Financial Services Group is planning to raise up to US$5bn (£3.59bn) in fresh equity that could value the online payments giant at more than US$100bn… A fundraising would bring Ant, in which e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is taking a one-third stake, a step closer to a hotly anticipated initial public offering.”


Apple to accept Alipay mobile payments at its stores in China

Apple brings Alibaba-linked payment system into China stores amid market push — Reuters — “The tie-up will make Alipay, run by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, the first third-party mobile payment system to be accepted at any physical Apple store worldwide… The Cupertino-based firm will accept Alipay payment across its 41 brick-and-mortar retail stores in China.”


Chinese mobile payment platforms are now used by 527m people

China’s mobile payment users hit 527 million in 2017 — ECNS — “China had a total of 527m mobile payment users at the end of last year, up by 57.8m from a year before… WeChat Pay, one of China’s major mobile payment service providers, attracted over 800m validated users by September 2017. The number of monthly offline payments was 280% higher than that from a year ago… Alipay, the online payment platform under ecommerce giant Alibaba, launched in 36 overseas destinations, benefiting hundreds of thousands of merchants. Overseas transactions surged by 306% in the last year when compared with 2016.”


Alibaba takes 33% stake in Alipay operator Ant Financial

Alibaba agrees to 33% stake in Ant Financial — Alibaba — “An equity stake in Ant Financial will bring key strategic benefits to Alibaba, including advancing its New Retail strategy with mobile payments, increasing user acquisition and retention through collaboration with the Alipay digital wallet (“Alipay Wallet”), and enhancing the execution of the international expansion… Upon closing, the companies will terminate the current profit-sharing arrangement under which Ant Financial pays royalty and technology service fees in an amount equal to 37.5% of its pre-tax profits to Alibaba.”



Alipay reports mobile payments adoption stats

Mobile devices handle some 80% of Alipay’s online payments in 2017 — ECNS — “New data from Alipay show 82% of the transactions on its platform in 2017 were made through mobile devices, mostly smart phones. This ratio is said to be an all-time high… There were 520m Alipay users in China, or around 37% of the country’s population, in 2017… More than 40m small retailers across China, according to Alipay, established their own quick response codes in 2017… Bus and subway networks in more than 30 Chinese cities began allowing passengers to pay fares via Alipay through 2017.”


Honda to let drivers use Alipay to make payments from cars

Honda to team up with Alibaba in connected cars — Nikkei Asian Review — “The Japanese automaker will work with the Chinese e-retailing titan’s AutoNavi business. They plan to develop a service that lets drivers make reservations using AutoNavi maps and make payments via Alibaba’s online platform Alipay. Decisions will be made soon on when to make the service available on which vehicles.”


China UnionPay launches mobile wallet app

UnionPay takes mobile payment services fight to Alibaba and Tencent with integrated app — South China Morning Post — “UnionPay said the app could be linked to more than one bank account by different banks with all of their mobile payment services accepted and conducted via the platform… The country’s dominant bank card clearing service provider also launched a nationwide promotional campaign with aggressive discounts to attract consumers who have been increasingly using Alipay and Tenpay services for shopping.”


Alipay pushes into Hong Kong, India, Thailand and the Philippines with Christmas shopping festival

Alipay to hold online 24-hour Christmas shopping festival as part of expansion push — South China Morning Post — “The event will take place in Hong Kong, India, Thailand and the Philippines with Alipay partners in each location: Hutchison in Hong Kong, Paytm in India, Truemoney in Thailand and GCash in the Philippines… As part of the December event, the AlipayHK joint venture has partnered with more than 8,000 bricks-and-mortar stores to offer exclusive gifts, discounts and rewards.”


Paytm CEO sets out plans to become the world’s largest digital bank

Alibaba-backed Paytm aims to become world’s largest digital bank — Bloomberg — “Paytm Payments Bank aims to create the world’s largest digital bank with 500m accounts, envisioning an online financial services provider of everything from wealth management to credit cards and stock market trading… The bank grew out of Paytm’s digital wallet, which amassed over a hundred million customers after India took high-denomination bills — or nearly 90% of the value of cash — out of circulation last November.”


Hong Kong transit operator to test WeChat Pay and Alipay

Contactless competition: WeChat Pay is coming to Hong Kong’s MTR, and Alipay may not be far behind — South China Morning Post — “Commuters on Hong Kong’s MTR will soon be given a new quick payment option as the railway operator has partnered with the mainland’s second-largest mobile payment provider WeChat Pay, it announced on Thursday. WeChat Pay’s main rival, Alipay, said it would follow suit in the ‘near future’… While the initiative arguably benefits mainland tourists more than Hongkongers, it breaks a 20-year stronghold by the contactless Octopus card on how train fares can be paid for.”


Chinese consumers made 1.48bn Alipay purchases on Singles Day

Spending climbs by 39% on this year’s Singles Day — China Daily — “Bargain hunters splurged by spending a record 168.2bn yuan (US$25.3bn) during this year’s Singles Day… Nine out of 10 people used mobile wallet apps for payment, said Alibaba, with its Alipay app having handled 1.48bn transactions in 24 hours and processed them at a peak rate of 256,000 transactions per second.”


Indian mobile wallet giant Paytm plans expansion to US, Japan and Europe

India’s top payment app has eyes on US market — Wall Street Journal — “India’s largest mobile payment app — backed by the likes of China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp — has its eye on the US, its founder said. Speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s D.Live Singapore event, Paytm founder and chief executive Vijay Shekhar Sharma said his aim is to expand into developed markets, also including Japan and Europe.”



Alipay uses face verification to unlock delivery boxes

Alibaba testing face recognition technology — AsiaOne — “An army of specially equipped kiosks have been installed across five locations at Shanghai’s financial district of Lujiazui, with cameras scanning people’s faces to verify their identities… Users need to subscribe to a service embedded in the Alipay digital wallet, which gives the app the green light to capture their personal information to confirm their identity”.


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