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Alipay continues mobile payments expansion with 300,000 merchants in Japan

Alipay, the mobile payments arm of Alibaba Group has signed up more than 300,000 retailers in Japan to its m-payments service to serve the growing number of Chinese tourists to the country.

Ant Financial will not charge access fees in extending its services to more retailers in Japan. The number of merchants that accept Alipay have surged by about six times from about 50,000 in early 2018.

More than 8.3 million Chinese people travelled to Japan in 2018, accounting for 27% of total arrivals, according to Alipay. Asia as a region, led by China, has become a major source of tourist spending in Japan, accounting for 86% of total visitors, according to Ant Financial.

Alipay and Wechat pay market share in China

Transaction volume in Japan during May 1-4 ranked the fourth across all markets, registering an increase of 25% from the same period last year. Airports, department stores, pharmacies and convenience stores were among the places that recorded the highest Alipay expenditure.

Alipay is expanding in Japan ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games that Tokyo will host next summer. Mobile payment has increasingly become the payment method of choice among Chinese consumers due to widespread ownership of smartphones and convenience of making secure payments through the scanning of QR codes, a feature available through both Alipay and Tencent Holdings’ WeChat Pay.

China’s mobile payment reached 47.2 trillion yuan (RM 28.61 trillion) in Q4 2018, up 7.8% from the previous quarter, according to a research note by Analysys. Alipay had a 54% market share followed by WeChat Pay’s 39% during the three-month period, said the research firm.

More than half of the overseas businesses surveyed saw an increase in both foot traffic in their stores and the size of transactions made by Chinese travellers after they adopted Alipay, a report released jointly by US research firm Nielsen and Alipay in January.

Launched in 2004, Alipay’s in-store payment service covers more than 40 countries and regions across the world, and tax reimbursement via Alipay is supported in 29 countries and regions. Alipay, which currently supports 27 currencies, works with over 250 overseas financial institutions and payment solution providers.

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