Ant Group and PayNet have jointly announced the integration of Alipay+ to promote seamless payment for inbound and outbound Malaysian travellers.
More Asian travellers to Malaysia will enjoy a seamless digital payment experience at over 1.8 million merchants across the country. At the same time, Malaysian residents can pay with e-wallets from their home country abroad.
By the end of this year, users of five Asian e-wallets, including AlipayHK (Hong Kong SAR), GCash (Philippines), Kakao Pay (South Korea) and TrueMoney (Thailand), will be able to use cashless payments when they travel to Malaysia with Alipay+. More e-wallets are expected to join in the coming months.
DuitNow QR is Malaysia's National QR Standard operated by PayNet that allows merchants to accept real-time payments from customers of participating banks and e-wallet operators using a unified QR code.
The partnership will enable all Malaysian e-wallets supported by PayNet to be accepted by the Alipay+ merchants network globally in 2024.
Beyond payments, Ant Group and PayNet will also collaborate on joint digital marketing efforts to enhance the visibility of businesses directly within the users' e-wallets.
Gary Yeoh, Chief Commercial Officer of PayNet, says: "This partnership between PayNet and Alipay+ is forged at a vital time when overseas travel and tourism have fully resumed and rapidly increasing."
"Consumers and merchants in both countries already accustomed to digital payments expect the same seamless and hassle-free experience when travelling overseas. They also expect this to be conducted at competitive exchange rates. This collaboration will address both of these needs."
"Since Malaysia has long been a favourite and popular destination with Asian tourists, and vice-versa, this collaboration will likely result in higher trade growth between the two nations. We see the proliferation of seamless international payments at scale sooner than we think. It is just a matter of time," says Yeoh.
The collaboration comes amidst travel recovery to Malaysia, with 4.5 million tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2023, with most coming from ASEAN countries. Malaysia is expected to achieve its target of 16.1 million tourist arrivals in 2023 and generate more than RM49 billion in tourism revenue.
As travel rebounds, businesses must adapt to new digital habits, particularly accepting localised digital payment options like e-wallets. Southeast Asian users will continue to drive the use of QR code payments, which is expected to grow 590% by 2028.
Dr Cherry Huang, General Manager of Alipay+ Offline Merchant Services, Ant Group, says: "Alipay+'s collaboration with PayNet is a significant development for regional travellers. We are jointly making efforts to bring local businesses and international visitors closer together, offering not just convenience to tourists but greater opportunities and visibility for Malaysian businesses."
"Travellers today have greater expectations when they travel, particularly the use of digital solutions to enhance their experience. They want it to be simpler, with less complexity and less hassle, and in working with our local partners, this is exactly what we want to achieve, personalised, seamless and borderless experiences."
Alipay+ is a suite of global cross-border digital payments and marketing solutions designed to enable businesses to process various mobile payment methods. In addition to Malaysia, Alipay+ is also widely accepted in destinations including the Chinese mainland, Macao SAR, Singapore, Thailand, Japan and South Korea, among others.
As for PayNet, this would be yet another successful cross-border collaboration after Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore. These interlinkages connect a sizeable portion of digital payment customers in ASEAN, one of the world's most active digital payment markets.