Leading mobile payment providers across Asia announced recently an integration of Alipay+ cross-border digital payment solutions in South Korea in an effort to jointly promote cashless travel in the country. Users of e-wallets including AlipayHK, GCash (in the Philippines), Touch ‘n Go eWallet (Malaysia), and TrueMoney (Thailand) are able to pay at over 120,000 merchants using their local mobile payment applications when traveling in South Korea.
What is Alipay+ offering its e-wallet partners?
The collaboration marks the first time for leading mobile payment providers from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong to extend the availability of their services in South Korea through Alipay+. The initial phase of the merchant roll-out covers major tourist activities including payments for taxi, duty free shops, convenience stores, and food and beverage chains and many others .
Introduced by Ant Group, Alipay+ is a suite of global cross-border digital payments and marketing solutions designed to enable businesses to process a wide range of mobile payment methods and better serve regional and global consumers through simple technical adaption.
Danny Chung, General Manager of Ant Group Korea, Australia and New Zealand, said: “It is our pleasure to connect merchants in Korea with a variety of mobile payment methods, enabling tourists to pay with convenience and simplicity in Korea using their preferred home e-wallets.”
“As the theme of this year’s World Tourism Day is Rethinking Tourism, Alipay+ has been striving towards the same goal by supporting a cashless & smart travel experience. With innovation and digitalization, Alipay+ can play its role in transforming tourism,” he added.
What is the partnership offering South Korean users?
The partnership between Alipay+ and Asia’s e-wallet leaders comes as international travel across Asia continues to rebound. In early September, South Korea lifted the requirement for a pre-travel Covid-19 tests for inbound travelers, following a decision to remove any and all quarantine requirements for foreign arrivals regardless of vaccination status.
“With South Korea being one of the most popular destinations of Filipinos, we are delighted that our customers will be able to maximize their GCash app during their travels.”
“This collaboration with Alipay+ provides our users the convenience they need to easily transact and manage their expenses with GCash,” said Martha Sazon, President and CEO Mynt, which operates GCash, “This innovative partnership aligns with our vision of financial inclusion and is a huge step towards building a cashless ecosystem, all around the world .”
Venetia Lee, General Manager, AlipayHK and Alipay Greater China International Business, Ant Group, said, “It is our pleasure to announce the connection to South Korea, a popular tourist destination for Hong Kong people. AlipayHK aims to provide our users with one-stop lifestyle services, including not only local but also cross-border payments for those who love traveling.”
“With AlipayHK already being accepted by majority of merchants in Japan, Chinese mainland and Macao through Alipay+, we expect our service to expand to more destinations, enabling AlipayHK users to travel everywhere with one app using their own e-wallet,” she added.
How does the partnership benefit the tourism sector?
Mr. Koravut Pavitpok, Head of Commercial of TrueMoney Co., Ltd. said, “South Korea has long been one of the top tourist destinations among Thais for its fascinating history, a wonderful culture and amazing food. Before the pandemic, over half a million of Thais travel a year.”
“And since the borders re-opened, Thai tourists have become the second highest tourist visitors to South Korea. As international travel is on the rise again, our partnership with Alipay+ has allowed TrueMoney Wallet to expand our service territory and provide more convenient and safer cross-border cashless payment to our tourists and merchants,” he added.
South Korea’s popularity as a destination for travel, shopping, and k-pop makes it a top choice for international tourists as travel in Asia revitalizes. According to statistics by Korea Tourism Organization, over 800,000 tourists visited South Korea during the first half of this year, representing an increase of 92.8% compared to the same period last year. Tourists from countries, including the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia, accounting for 30.3% of the total.
As the usage of mobile payments by international travelers and the number of travelers from Southeast Asia continues to rise, the retail industry in Korea is adopting various mobile payment methods particularly through partnership with Alipay+. For instance, Lotte Duty Free and convenient store brand GS25 have signed partnership agreements with Alipay+ to make shopping experience much faster and more convenient for international consumers.