Alipay releases its Hong Kong version these days, which becomes its first local version for overseas users. The interface is traditional Chinese; with functions differ from the mainland version, including scan to pay, discount information and prints collection.
From now until 31 July, users who pay more than HK$ 20 for at least 3 times at the cooperative shops will get HK$ 50 reward with 3 prints collected.
Alipay and WeChat's first overseas market: Hong Kong
Due to the low tax rate, Hong Kong has become the prime destination for mainland tourists, especially those from Guangdong. Alipay has in partnership with thousands of shops, making tourists scan to pay as in mainland shops.
More functions such as mobile top up, water & electricity charge top up, transferring, calling taxis, insurance, etc are the following plans of Alipay. It intends to duplicate mainland's cash-free lifestyle to Hong Kong.
However, WeChat Wallet hasn't provided offline payment yet. Hong Kong users' most popular instant messengers are WhatsApp and LINE, rather than WeChat. Based on a chatting toll, WeChat cannot provide cash free services without releasing a unique app.
Why do Alipay and WeChat expand overseas markets?
Actually Hong Kong is just one of Alipay and WeChat's overseas markets. They can be also seen in Southeast Asia and East Asia.
China has become the world's largest mobile payment market. Forrester's data shows that the total amount of mobile payment in America is USD 112 billion in 2016, counting less than 1/50 of Chinese market. The QR Code payment plays the vital role.
Alipay is even regarded as one of the New Four Great Inventions of China. Among previous payments, QR Code is the safest and most convenient one, while NFC payments represented by Apple Pay cannot compare with Alipay and WeChat when they enter Chinese market, which proves the primacy of the QR Code payment.
Alipay and WeChat's different ways of internationalization
Hundreds of millions of users are using international WeChat, which lays the foundation of its overseas payment market. However, two main challenges are encountered by WeChat wallet: not all users are into all-in-one apps, and if the app itself is banned in some countries, its relative payment business will be affected for sure. Russia is the case.
As an individual payment app, Alipay is able to release versions adapting to different markets. Since this year, it has entered Japan, Italy, Germany, Finland to provide payment and tax refund services at convenience stores, taxis, airports and shops, making its QR Code be in the lead worldwide.
Actually, the competitor of overseas Alipay is traditional financial payment, e.g. credit card company, instead of WeChat Wallet. What's more, how to make local users accept new payments remains the biggest challenge.