Alipay’s Scramble for the Mobile Payment Market in Hong Kong

Ant Financial becomes a minority shareholder of Hong Kong-based dining guide platform OpenRice.

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Alibaba’s financial arm Ant Finance has acquired a 20% stake in Hong Kong-based online dining guide platform OpenRice. The duo has also reached a strategic partnership to provide users with more payment options and promotions.

After the deal, Alipay will be adopted as a payment option on the restaurant hunting platform. At the same time, OpenRice has been incorporated into the mainland version of Alipay app, from where you’ll be able to browse information on Hong Kong restaurants and promotions.

Founded in 1999, OpenRice provides information and reviews covering more than 24,000 restaurants in Hong Kong.

Alipay dipped its toes into Hong Kong since last May and currently has snapped around 2000 restaurants as mobile payment partner.

In addition to restaurants, Alipay HK also made a successful foray into a range of businesses including pharmacies, convenience stores, home appliance stores, duty-free stores, restaurants, department stores, etc.

The latest deal with OpenRice will help bolster the penetration of Alipay in Hong Kong, where it has locked in an increasingly fierce competition with archrival Tencent’s WeChat Pay.

Last November, Tencent announced to have teamed up with MTR, the Mass Transit Railway in Hong Kong in an effort to roll out a WeChat-enabled payment option.

In response, Alibaba declared it will follow suit in the near future.

Outside of China, Alibaba’s financial arm now operates in more than 37 countries and regions across the world. In Southeast Asia, the company has beefed up its presence by acquiring helloPay, a Singapore-based payment platform in April 2017.

Now all helloPay’s operations have been rebranded as Alipay in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.