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Alipay+ Looks to Expand as eWallet Use Grows

Alipay, WeChat Pay, UnionPay, mobile payments, mobile ecosystems, accessibility, transparency

China’s Ant Group is reportedly looking to expand use of its payments product Alipay+.

“What we found is that people want to use their home e-wallets when they travel abroad. So they don’t want to have to load their card into another app that they don’t know as well,” Douglas Feagin, senior vice president of Ant Group, said in a Monday (May 6) CNBC interview.

Launched in 2020, Alipay+ allows visitors to China to use apps from their home countries to make payments.

“We see a huge opportunity for expansion and the relatively broad coverage we have in Asia — we [would] like to replicate in places like the Middle East, Latam and Europe,” Feagin told CNBC. “People from all these regions are going to other regions, so a big opportunity to expand.”

Last week, the company launched a cross-border payments initiative aimed at boosting Hong Kong’s tourism and commerce sector.

The platform facilitates transactions for users of 14 overseas mobile wallets and bank apps from nine countries and regions, including Mongolia, Malaysia, Macau, Italy and Singapore, ensuring that these platforms, much like Alipay in mainland China, are now accepted by over 90% of local merchants in Hong Kong.

“By enabling users to conduct transactions through their preferred home apps, this integration aims to streamline payment processes, enhance operational efficiency, and elevate service standards in Hong Kong’s retail landscape,” PYMNTS wrote.

Alipay/Ant Group’s efforts are happening at a time an increasing number of consumers are embracing the use of digital wallets, according to the PYMNTS Intelligence study “Tracking the Digital Payments Takeover: Can New Use Cases Drive Consumer Use of Digital Wallets?

“The trend is particularly pronounced among Generation Z consumers, with nearly 80% regularly using digital wallets,” PYMNTS wrote last week.

This evolution is set to further improve connected travel experiences — a shift that resonates strongly with Gen Z travelers. This is the first generation to grow up in a digital-centric world, meaning that Gen Z individuals are accustomed to seamless digital experiences and value convenience and efficiency in all areas of their lives, travel included.

But it’s not just travel and payments that make digital wallets attractive for consumers. The study also found that consumers — especially younger ones — were intrigued by features that could make their lives easier, like the ability to store crucial documents such as driver’s licenses, passports and event tickets.