China's biggest mobile payment platform comes to Southeast Asia

China's biggest mobile payment platform comes to Southeast Asia
Alipay
PHOTO: Reuters

China's biggest mobile payments platform is spreading to the rest of Asia.

Alipay, from ecommerce giant Alibaba, has a whopping 450 million users in China, who use their phones to pay friends, buy stuff online, and even offline at restaurants and merchants.

On Wednesday, Ant Financial, which runs Alipay, announced its merger with HelloPay.

HelloPay is the three-year-old payment platform created by ecommerce site, Lazada, which has been dubbed the "Amazon of Southeast Asia."

Last year, Alibaba bought a controlling stake in Lazada, in a deal worth approximately US$1 billion (S$1.3 billion).

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While HelloPay is hardly as ubiquitously used in Southeast Asia as Alipay is in China, the merger should pave the way for Alibaba's plans to spread Alipay outside of China.

However, the new localised Alipay platforms in the region aren't compatible with the main Alipay platform. That means users in China wouldn't be able to pay in Southeast Asia, and vice versa.

HelloPay's country-specific versions will be rebranded as Alipay Singapore, Alipay Malaysia, Alipay Indonesia, and Alipay Philippines.

There will be no change for HelloPay's users and payment partners, confirmed Douglas Feagin, Senior Vice President of Ant Financial, in an emailed statement to Mashable.

This merger follows Ant Financial's keenness to spread globally. Earlier this week, it offered US$1.2 billion for US-based Moneygram.

Looks like there's no escaping Alibaba, wherever in the world you might be.

Read the full article here.


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