Ant Group Scales Up International Consumer-Friendly Zones

Ant Group, the affiliate of conglomerate Alibaba Group, signs 11 partnerships in a bid to create several International Consumer-Friendly Zones in China

Ant Group, owner of the world’s largest mobile payments company Alipay+ and affiliate of conglomerate Alibaba Group, has entered into a partnership agreement with 11 leading global e-wallets and card organisatons as part of a programme to build several International Consumer-Friendly Zones in China.

The programme, launched in Beijing, represents a nationwide attempt in China to build International Consumer-Friendly Zones across major Chinese tourist and commercial sites. 

These zones will have the support of relevant local governments and authorities, and will see Ant Group and its payments partners work with local merchants, commercial districts and tourist sites to enhance international visitors' experiences by making how they pay easier. 

Ant Group: Expanding payments accessibility in China

Ant Group’s newest string of partners offers an expanded means for international tourists to pay in China. Through its Alipay+ platform. Alipay+ offers a suite of cross-border mobile payments and digitalisation technology solutions so international travellers can pay with their home e-wallets across China. 

Through Alipay+, tourists can also bind major international bank cards, including Visa, Mastercard, JCB, Discover and Diners Club International to an Alipay app – making purchases without the need for a local bank account. 

By partnering with 11 new e-wallets and card organisations, Ant Group will effectively expand its payments solutions to more international travellers. 

Its latest partners include AlipayHK (Hong Kong SAR, China), Changi Pay (Singapore), HiPay (Mongolia), Kakao Pay (South Korea), MPay (Macao SAR, China), Naver Pay (South Korea), OCBC Digital (Singapore), Toss Pay (South Korea), Touch 'n' Go eWallet (Malaysia), and TrueMoney (Thailand). 

Indeed, Ant Group’s partnerships effectively expand its capabilities to offer tourists from East and Southeast Asia to make purchases in China with greater ease. 

But perhaps its most notable new partnership is with Pakistani fintech platform NayaPay. This partnership marks the first time Pakistani travellers can leverage Alipay+ to make payments at over 80 million merchants across China. 

The move comes as bilateral trade frequency and tourism rates from Pakistan to China have increased. 

Danish A. Lakhani, CEO of NayaPay, says: "Today marks a monumental milestone in the commercial relationship between China and Pakistan as we witness the establishment of the first direct payment channels between our two nations. 

“This groundbreaking development is made possible through the collaborative efforts of Ant Group, NUCC, and NayaPay, under the auspices of the People's Bank of China and the State Bank of Pakistan. 

“This achievement not only paves the way for a new era of financial transactions but also symbolises joint innovation between our nations."

Ant Group's move to expand growth by offering tourists more ways to pay comes after its Vice President Clara Shi spoke to FinTech Magazine on the reasons why SMEs should look to trade in Asia, specifically China, as a means to rapidly expand their business. 

China's need to boost its economy through increased trade has been pronounced in recent times, with the US-China trade war resulting in the Chinese Yuan depreciating against the US Dollar. Convera discusses the macroeconomic permutations of the US-China trade war in its economic outlook for 2024

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