Alipay, the most popular mobile payment app in China, has launched a brand new feature at the end of September called “Everywhere”. This new function can help Alipay users to find people nearby who may provide certain services you want. So if you need a plumber, you can use "Everywhere" to find one near you. 

The recent announcement that Canadian merchants will now accept UnionPay’s mobile QuickPass payment, along with Ingenico partnering with Alipay to provide mobile payments in Europe, highlight that huge strides are being made by both UnionPay and Alipay to infiltrate Western markets and that these efforts are being supported by the Western payments industry.

Ant Finance, the most valuable Fintech startup in China, announced their plan to launch another payment app based on Virtual Reality (VR) technology. It will allow customers to make payments when they are using VR.

Ant Financial will purchase 20 percent of Thai payments and online finance provider Ascend Money, with the right to increase its stake to 30 percent, China's Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website. 

Published in Asia Payments Research

Although UnionPay is known for its control of the domestic Chinese payment market, it also has over 50 million cards issued overseas. So in other words, a China UnionPay branded card issued by a foreign bank in a foreign country and a foreign currency. In its international push, UnionPay would like its cards to be used both online and offline. Foreign cardholders are increasingly using them for paying at POS and for ATM cash withdrawal, however, there was never a compelling case to use UnionPay cards online, where established card brands like Visa and MasterCard dominate.

The big data e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba is now eager to leverage their data on millions of users and transactions in new projects. This time they have followed their formidable rival JD.com by moving into the crowdfunding area to extend financing to SMEs.

Published in China Banking Research

The versatile internet powerhouse Alibaba group is now sitting on the goldmine of big data and is innovatively monetizing it through internet finance. This time Alibaba Group's online payment system Sesame Credit applies the cutting edge big data-based credit rating system in partnership with Luxembourg's Consulate General in Shanghai for a launch of a credit-based visa application service.

A whole generation of ordinary Chinese have been neglected in terms of wealth management and banking with high minimum investment thresholds or VIP-only products preventing only a select few from getting access to traditional wealth management products. Alibaba and Tencent have brought innovative internet finance based services such as Tenpay or Alipay to the market and have further opened up wealth management to an entire new segment of the market with 'mass-market' wealth management products. China’s e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba now is after banking industry.

Published in China Banking Research

Alipay has already gotten into transport cards, bill payments and hospitals in China, now it's focused on public services again with local government partnerships.

Personal credit ratings in China have never been a pretty subject. Without a centralized credit database accessible to all, getting accurate credit information has proved challenging for any company in China providing loan products. With Ant Financial, the financial arm of Alibaba, launching Sesame Credit, we felt it was worth taking a second look at what might be happening here. 

Published in China Banking Research
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