Alipay's Hong Kong wallet expands into Japan

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Hong Kong's mobile wallet AlipayHK has expanded to enable cross-border payments for the first time in Japan and other regions of the Greater Bay Area.

The expansion targets Hong Kong travelers who visit Japan, allowing mobile payments at merchant locations that already accept Alipay. The mobile wallet will operate through a QR code platform in locations such as shopping malls, convenience stores, theme parks and hotels.

The acceptance of AlipayHK will spare travelers "the hassle of currency exchange and extend them the same convenient and smart payment experiences they already know," Jennifer Tan, CEO of Alipay Payment Services HK Ltd, said in a Tuesday press release.

"In the meantime, our initial presence in Japan shows our commitment to serving Hong Kongers as they travel around the world," Tan added. "AlipayHK will continue to expand its service coverage to more popular destinations."

AlipayHK has also been adopted by the Daimaru Tenjin store in Fukuoka, considered a favorite vacation destination for Hong Kong travelers.

AlipayHK is operated through Alipay Financial Services, while Alipay Payment Services is a joint venture established through CK Hutchison Holdings Limited and Ant Financial Services Group.

Alipay, which is China's major mobile and online payment service offered through Alibaba Group and Ant Financial, made its debut in Japan in 2015 and quickly built the Alipay network in that country in less than two years.

Alipay, with more than 500 million users in China, has seen its acceptance among Japanese merchants grow to more than 50,000 locations. The sites are generally those frequented most often by Chinese tourists, but Alipay reported making inroads into small-town shopping districts in Japan as well.

Alipay rival Tencent Holdings has also worked the past five months to bring WeChat into Japan, making it another option for Chinese tourists to make purchases with local merchants.

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Mobile wallets Mobile payments Cross border payments Ant Financial Japan