Looking to tap into a “tech-savvy population and over 50 million visitors annually”

Looking to tap into a “tech-savvy population and over 50 million visitors annually”

Conglomerate CK Hutchison and Ant Financial have formed a joint venture (JV) to offer a digital wallet under the AlipayHK brand, with the aim to integrate online and offline payments in Hong Kong.

Ant Financial says AlipayHK got over 100,000 active users in the first two weeks after its launch last May. The mobile app is now accepted in over 4,000 retail brand outlets in Hong Kong.

The parties are looking to tap into a “tech-savvy population and over 50 million visitors annually” and plan to integrate digital payments into the “traditional retail experience”.

CK Hutchison and its affiliated companies’ consumer networks have over 124 million retail loyalty members and over 123 million telecom and 35 million utility customers. In Hong Kong, it has over 600 stores selling telecommunications, food, electronics, wine and health and beauty products serving over 6.6 million Hong Kong telecom and retail loyalty customers. The JV will seek to make the most of all that.

Eric Jing, CEO of Ant Financial, says there are “millions of people travelling across the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area every month” and cites the customary “digital financial inclusion to the citizens in the region” line.

The joint venture is expected to be completed by the end of 2017, subject to regulatory approval.

CK Hutchison has operations in over 50 countries and over 290,000 employees worldwide. It has five core businesses – ports and related services, retail, infrastructure, energy and telecommunications. It reported a turnover of approximately HKD 373 billion ($48 billion) for the year ended 31 December 2016.

Businesses operated by Ant Financial Services Group include Alipay, Ant Fortune, Zhima Credit and MYbank.

Ant with ambitions

In another step to expand its global footprint and promote financial inclusion, Ant Financial recently entered into an equity JV with CIMB Group’s subsidiary Touch ‘n Go (TNG).

Back in April, Ant Financial appeared to have beat back a surprise challenge by Euronet Worldwide to acquire MoneyGram. After raising its offer for the money transfer giant by more than one-third, to $1.2 billion, Ant Financial’s bid earned the approval of MoneyGram’s board of directors.