AlipayHK: Establishing a Cashless Future

AlipayHK is an electronic wallet operated by Alipay Financial Services (HK) Limited and supervised by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. Alipay Payment Services (HK) Limited (APSHK) is a joint venture established and managed by CK Hutchison Holdings Limited, a conglomerate spanning over 50 countries and by Ant Financial Services Group, a leading global technology and financial services company and the parent company of “Alipay”.

Currently, over 25,000 local retail outlets have supported electronic wallet for payment, covering large chain stores, convenience stores, drug stores, supermarkets, wet markets, taxies, restaurants, and others. Features of the electronic wallet also include payment on Taobao and TMall, P2P transfer, remittance, electricity payment, telecom payment, entry tickets and F&B vouchers for The Racecourse, purchase of insurance products offered by a third party, ecoupons, etc. making Hong Kong residents’ lives more convenient by integrating mobile payment into daily lives. AlipayHK had 1 million users in March but saw a 50 percent surge in growth to 1.5 million users by the end of June.

According to the “AlipayHK Smart Payment Popularity Index” that is conducted by the Hong Kong Productivity Council in July, 82% of the respondents have heard of the AlipayHK brand and 22% of them have also become familiar with the App. The survey also reflects that AlipayHK’s mobile payment brand is currently most popular among Hong Kong people.

A Customer-Centric Approach 

AlipayHK is mainly reaching the customers that are Overseas Filipino Workers residing in Hong Kong. Until the Remittance service innovation by Alipay, the OFW had to go through a long process of queuing for hours and filling out forms just to send money home. With the innovative application of blockchain technology to the service, AlipayHK has made the process easier with more options of sending money to home. AlipayHK applied blockchain technology into its e-wallet to streamline the remittance process. The introduction of such innovation to remittance radically improves the speed of delivery, enhances transparency of the process and drastically reduces costs while ensuring better security measures while sending money across borders.

At the same time, Alipay has partnered up with a popular ewallet in the Philippines, GCash, to ensure that this innovative approach is implemented across both ends of the process so it is as effortless and smart as possible for its users. This service between GCash and AlipayHK provides round-the-clock, real-time money transfer between Hong Kong and the Philippines at a competitive exchange rate with much lower transaction fees than available on market. Now, with a few taps through AlipayHK’s mobile phone application, money can be transferred within seconds to a GCash user. During its initial three-month trial period, the transaction cost was waived completely.

A Momentous Journey 

Since the establishment of this joint venture on March 8, the number of app users has surged from over 1 million to 1.5 million, and the number of merchants who accept AlipayHK has increased from 10,000 to 25,000. Many users and merchants in Hong Kong have recognized AlipayHK and its scaling services of cashless transactions. AlipayHK is dedicated to build a comprehensive lifestyle platform, covering four pillars of daily life – food, clothing, housing, and transportation. Everything can be paid with this app, such as online and offline merchants, electricity bills, telecom payment, property management fees, and taxis etc. The app has also developed a smart mobility solution called “EasyGo,” to solve the pain points of local traffic so that the public can have a seamless travel experience, both in Hong Kong or even overseas in the future.

The Visionary of AlipayHK 

Jennifer Tan, the CEO of the company announced the concept of “new retail, new experience” at the time of establishing the venture. This concept was a revolutionary idea by the company’s CMO and for the first time, the concept was executed with great planning and brought a new retail experience to the people of Hong Kong. Then AlipayHK brought a real unmanned store to public in September caught the attention of several people in less than a month’s span. During the campaign period, it drove more than 100% new user registration compared to the same period last year. It also aroused the public’s enthusiasm and discussion for setting up an unmanned store in Hong Kong.

Entry into the store is a two-step process. First, the customer smiles for a facial recognition system, generating a QR code on a screen outside the entrance, which the customer then scans to open the doors. The company seeks to raise awareness of mobile payments through the unmanned store, which comes into play when a customer reaches the check-out point.

Unlike traditional cashier, unmanned store customers simply walk through a sensory gate where all on-hand products are automatically detected, and then pay within a few quick taps on their phones via the AlipayHK app. The whole process is automated, hence making the store an “Unmanned” one.

Marching towards a “Cashless Society” 

The unmanned store offers business incentives to merchants. The new payment technology reduces the current high cost of doing business in Hong Kong so that more resources are allocated to invest in product design or marketing strategy that will help the business to grow rapidly in the market.

The company has also introduced a smart mobility solution named “EasyGo”, which provides Hong Kong people with a choice of public transport payment. With EasyGo, people can travel without cash or transit stored value cards, leading Hong Kong people towards a cashless society. Apart from a mobile payment solution, the EasyGo payment terminal has other capabilities such as destination notification, Wi-Fi sharing, and real-time terminal monitoring.

Prospects to Become a Super Lifestyle App 

The app will mainly focus on promoting mobile payment development and finding suitable scenes to integrate its services with four major daily necessities of Hong Kong citizens: clothing, food, housing, and transportation. The company targets to develop a super lifestyle app with 4 goals: Acceptance, Convenience, Easy-to-use and Secured data. The company believes that AlipayHK will become the most popular electronic wallet in Hong Kong.