CARDS & PAYMENTS | Staff Reporter, Japan

Alipay eyes tie-up with Japanese regional banks to boost coverage

The mobile payment platform has already partnered with Yahoo Japan.

Ant Financial Services Group’s payment portal Alipay is planning to work with regional banks in Japan in an effort to boost its coverage in the credit-card dominated market, reports Nikkei Asian Review.

Also read: China's payment giants try to conquer Asia's banking scene

"It is more effective to partner with Japanese companies and become a trusted partner of the Japanese community," Toyohito Tanaka, COO of Ant Financial Japan told local media. The partnership aims to cater to the Chinese tourist market in Japan after the country drew 7.3 million tourists from the Mainland and spent $14.36b (JPY1.6t) in 2017.

This comes on the heels of an earlier partnership by Ant Financial Services Group and Yahoo Japan that aims to roll out a mobile payment service based on Alipay this autumn. The partnership hopes to enable companies that already accept Yahoo mobile payments to also accept Alipay.

Widely indispensable in China, Alipay has yet to replicate this success in Japan where credit cards like Visa and Mastercard are still widely used and cash still offers a strong alternative.

Also read: Vietnam cracks down on Chinese mobile payment operators

Some banks view Alipay as a rival but Alipay hopes to change those perceptions. "We want to partner with Japan to help attract not just Chinese travelers but also mobile payment users from other countries," said Eric Jing, CEO of Ant Financial.

Alipay's business network already extends to 40 countries, and has direct investments in local mobile payment companies in nine Asian countries.

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