Ant Group Intensifies Global Expansion with Alipay+ Cross-Border Payments

Ant Group, a big Chinese fintech company, wants to expand its digital service, Alipay+, worldwide to help people use their mobile payment apps wherever they go.

Douglas Feagin, who works at Ant Group, said, “People prefer using their e-wallets when they travel abroad. They don’t want to deal with new apps they’re not familiar with.” Ant Group is part of Alibaba, a huge Chinese tech company.

Ant’s global division, Ant International, launched Alipay+ in 2020. It lets people from different countries use their apps to pay in China by scanning QR codes from Alipay. They can also use it in other countries through local partners.

Feagin explained, “We see a big chance to grow, especially in Asia. We want to do the same in the Middle East, Latin America, and Europe. People from these regions travel a lot, so it’s a good opportunity.”

Ant Group Intensifies Global Expansion with Alipay+ Cross-Border Payments
Strategic stakes in firms like 2C2P, and Kakao Pay; partnerships with SGQR, DuitNow QR, and ZeroPay.

Ant had invested in e-wallets in Asia but now wants to expand overseas, according to Feagin, who also leads Ant International.

He mentioned that Ant had some business with tourists going out of China, but mainly where Chinese tourists went. Before COVID-19, Ant was doing well in Europe and the U.S. because of Chinese tourists, who used Alipay there.

Now, with Alipay+, Ant wants to build on its success in those markets. Feagin said, “Alipay was already used in many stores worldwide, so our first step was to make those stores Alipay+ stores. That way, they can accept many different e-wallets, not just Alipay.”

Focus on popular mobile payment markets, restructuring after IPO issues, and broadening international reach.

Currently, Alipay+ works with 88 million merchants in 57 countries and regions, and it connects to 1.5 billion consumer accounts through over 25 e-wallets and bank apps, as per Ant’s data.

Ant Group’s Global Expansion: Investing in Growth Markets and Overcoming Challenges

Ant Group is expanding its business abroad by investing in companies and partnering with digital payment services.

They bought stakes in companies like Singapore’s 2C2P in 2022 and South Korea’s Kakao Pay in 2017. They also teamed up with national digital payment services like SGQR in Singapore, DuitNow QR in Malaysia, and ZeroPay in South Korea last year.

Zennon Kapron, from Kapronasia, said, “Ant Group initially focused on Southeast Asia, investing in e-wallets in major Southeast Asian countries.” They’re also moving into emerging markets like Sri Lanka and Cambodia. In Europe and the Middle East, they partnered with e-wallets Tinaba and Nexi in Europe and Dubai Duty-Free in the Middle East.

Targeting Southeast Asia, emerging markets like Sri Lanka, and Cambodia, and partnerships in Europe, and the Middle East. (Credits: Investopedia)

Ant sees growth potential in markets like Singapore and South Korea, where mobile payments are popular. Feagin said, “There’s a lot of room to grow. Many people still use traditional payments when they travel abroad.” He also mentioned the huge opportunity in big tourist destinations like Thailand and Japan.

Ant Group’s plans changed when Chinese regulators stopped its IPO in 2020. They had to restructure and become a financial holding company under central bank regulation.

Kapron explained, “Due to China’s regulations and global tensions, Ant changed its global strategy. They introduced Alipay+ to make e-wallets work better together.”

Ant focused on countries with many people to quickly grow its user base. They also targeted tourist hotspots like Japan, Thailand, and Singapore.

Ant is pushing harder into Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East for further expansion.

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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