Chinese tourists looking for a coffee fix in South Korea are in luck, as more than 1,000 Starbucks locations across the country now accept Alipay.
Owned and operated by Ant Financial Services Group, Alipay is the world’s largest online and mobile payment platform. The recent news also makes it the first third-party mobile payment method available in Starbucks locations throughout South Korea.
“Starbucks branches are among the most visited places by Chinese travelers in South Korea,” said Danny Chung, general manager of Alipay South Korea. “We will continue to introduce Alipay to more local merchants, including restaurants and shops, to make Chinese travelers’ journey[s] as convenient as at home.”
The announcement came just in time for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, currently underway and being held in PyeongChang, South Korea. Alipay is already available in PyeongChang and Gangreung, with approximately 400 merchants — including convenience stores, local restaurants, more than 20 Starbucks locations and retail stores, among others — accepting the digital payment method.
Alipay was introduced in South Korea in 2015, and is now available at various merchants around the country. Users can even receive an instant tax refund at four major airports in the country.
Launched in 2004, Alipay currently boasts more than 520 million active registered users. China is expected to process $3.29 trillion in mobile payments as of 2017, and that figure is expected to have nearly doubled to $6.31 trillion by 2020.
The company has been working overtime to expand globally. Overseas, Alipay now covers 38 countries and regions to provide payment services for Chinese visitors who are traveling overseas. The platform has more than 500 million registered users and plans to exceed 2 billion within the next decade as it expands its global reach.
Alipay launched in Israel just last month, making it the first nation in the Middle East to support the payment method.