Besides merchants, is Alipay partnering other industries, such as banks or telcos, in Asia to further its mobile payment offerings?
Currently, Alipay offers payment solutions for nearly 10 million small and micro businesses, and works closely with overseas merchants in Thailand and Singapore. To further enhance our mobile payment offerings, Alipay has also expanded its partnerships with other industry partners that provide a wide range of goods and services.
In fact, the active users on our Alipay Wallet mobile app are making diverse payments and purchases across transportation, rent and travel expenses. There are also six billion transactions made on Alipay for payments such as utility bills, credit cards, mobile phone recharge and money transfer over the past 10 years.
As non-traditional payment providers like Alipay disrupts the banking and finance industry, banks are at risk of becoming irrelevant in future. What's your take on this? Should banks work with fintech players like your company or should they find a new way of reinventing themselves?
The prevalence of digital wallet providers has definitely revolutionised the digital finance scene in Asia.
To better complement the bank's offerings, Alipay acts as a centralised payment option for users to pay their utility bills and taxi rides, book hospital appointments and even allow purchases of financial investment products.
Alipay has also introduced a range of financial services recently, which are made readily available for consumers who had previously lacked access to tools for making payments, money market accounts, and small business loans. Alipay financial services also act as a wealth management platform where users can open a savings account in an Alipay account rather than turning to traditional banks to earn higher interest.
We have also been working with banks and merchants in Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand to offer borderless payment to our users. Such mode of payment provides targeted promotions to tourists before they leave China. We have also included features such as location-based services and membership programs, which help merchants to boost their interactions with customers both online and in physical shops.
What will be the focus for Alipay for the next 12 months?
We have recently expanded our O2O (online-to-offline) services in popular Asian travel destinations. For instance, in December, we introduced a feature allowing Alipay wallet to purchase stored value cards for local transport in Singapore, Thailand and Macau. Alipay will continue to focus on such development to provide convenience for our users.
The Alipay Wallet was developed in view of more consumers going mobile. The Alipay Wallet allows users to electronically transfer funds via the Internet, through barcode recognition, QR code recognition, and a new feature called "sound wave payment," which utilises white noise generated by one smartphone to carry digital information to another Alipay Wallet-equipped smartphone in the vicinity.
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