Ant Group, the financial affiliate of Chinese tech heavyweight Alibaba Group Holding, has started to process cross-border payments in South Korea through four Southeast Asian e-wallet apps, eyeing the return of international shopping trips to the country.
Alipay+ debuted in 2020 as a platform that lets local e-wallet apps make international payments. Users of GCash of the Philippines, Hong Kong’s AlipayHK, Touch ‘n Go in Malaysia and Thailand’s TrueMoney, the payment provider affiliated with local retail conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group, can now shop in South Korea and pay with the same apps they use at home.
The apps will function the same way as they do in their home countries, eliminating the need to download separate payment apps in South Korea.
South Korea is one of Asia’s most popular tourist destinations. By expanding the use of the apps to that country, Ant aims to capture demand from visitors as international travel recovers from pandemic lows.
Users of the apps will be able to pay for items at over 120,000 merchants in South Korea, Ant said Monday. They include taxi services, restaurants, Lotte Group’s tax-free shops and the GS25 convenience store chain.
In March, the company appointed Jia Hang as the regional head for Southeast Asia based in Singapore, the first such position for the group. Hang outlined plans to expand business in Southeast Asia during a recent interview with Nikkei Asia.