Octopus launches online payments for shopping on Taobao

Android-only service allows registered users to pay for goods up to a daily limit of HK$1,000

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 February, 2014, 1:33am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 February, 2014, 1:33am

Hong Kong's 1.4 million Taobao Marketplace users will soon be able to pay for purchases by Octopus card.

Octopus is teaming up with Alipay, the mainland's leading third-party online payment solution, and e-commerce platform Taobao to launch online payment services in Hong Kong.

To use the service, purchasers will need to have a near-field-communication-enabled (NFC) mobile device and an Octopus card registered on Octopus' Android application. While most Android smartphones already feature NFC, American tech giant Apple's iPhones do not, which means iPhone users will not be able to access the service.

Before using an Octopus card to make a purchase on Taobao, the Octopus App 3.0.0 must be downloaded from Google Play. It must be updated if a previous version was downloaded.

New users are required to register their Octopus number, with the service becoming active after 24 hours.

After selecting desired products on Taobao or Tmall.com on their computer or pad, those who have registered can then choose Octopus as their means of payment. After opening the app on their phone, and they must scan the QR code shown on the computer screen, or type in the payment code provided by the computer, and then place the Octopus at the back of the mobile phone.

The daily payment limit is capped at HK$1,000 and the service will charge a 1.5 per cent service fee on the total transaction amount of each purchase. The exchange rate is set by Alipay.

Octopus Cards chief executive Sunny Cheung said the collaboration with Alipay and Taobao was an important step in the company's development of mobile payment services.

"I believe this feature will become very popular," Cheung said. "Shopping online is a big trend."

Octopus has a penetration rate of 95 per cent in Hong Kong, according to the company. Cheung said the Octopus App had been downloaded about 500,000 times, with 120,000 users having already upgraded to the latest version.

The company said Octopus would not collect any purchase information during the payment process.

Alibaba, which runs Taobao and Tmall, said it had 1.4 million registered users in Hong Kong by the middle of last year. It has yet to release updated figures.

Liang Minjun, deputy general manager of international business at Alibaba affiliate Alipay, said Alipay was now serving more than 800 million users on the mainland.

"We provide a simple and safe means of payment and we are going to maintain this standard in the future," Liang said.