Ant Group’s latest Singapore expansion brings mobile payment apps from Malaysia and South Korea to the city
- Ant Group’s Alipay+ service will now process fare payments for ComfortDelGro Taxi made through Malaysia’s Touch ‘n Go eWallet and South Korea’s Kakao Pay
- The fintech giant has been rapidly expanding in Singapore as it eyes Southeast Asia for greater growth outside China after recent regulatory troubles
Ant on Thursday unveiled its partnership with ComfortDelGro Taxi, Singapore’s largest taxi operator, to enable cashless payments through Touch ‘n Go eWallet, the leading mobile payment service in Malaysia, and Kakao Pay, a South Korean digital wallet service, according to a press release. The new payment options will work across a combined fleet of about 9,000 Comfort and CityCab taxis.
The deal allows users to pay their cab fares without needing to exchange currency or download a new app, and instead processes the payments through Ant’s Alipay+, a cross-border digital payment service introduced in 2020. Alipay+ currently has more than 1 billion users globally.
As part of an early promotion, the partnership is also offering discounts to users. Touch ‘n Go eWallet will deduct either 4 ringgits (90 US cents) or 6 ringgits from a user’s total fare for the first 300 transactions each day. The discounts will vary by week and end on June 25.
Kakao Pay takes the Alipay+ partnership further with in-store purchases available at some Singaporean shops, including at Changi International Airport, where users can pay with the app at any store featuring the Alipay+ logo such as Lotte Duty Free and Shilla Duty Free.
Ant’s expansion could help the fintech firm take advantage of reopening borders across Asia as restrictions introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic ease. Singapore in April removed pre-departure testing requirements for fully-inoculated visitors from all countries.
“This partnership also comes at a great time, as Singapore leads the way in opening up its borders and welcomes tourists back in the city state,” said Cherry Huang, Ant Group’s general manager for global merchant partnerships in South and Southeast Asia. “We believe this is the perfect moment for tourists to reimagine travel experience post pandemic.”
The number of visitors to Singapore in the first four months of the year already exceeded the total number of visitors to the city state in 2021, according to the Singapore Tourism Board. Malaysia accounted for the third most inbound visitors to Singapore during the period this year. South Korea is not currently among the top 10, but it ranked ninth in 2019, before the pandemic disrupted travel.
Hangzhou Junao and Hangzhou Junhan – two other major Ant shareholders, with a combined 50.5 per cent stake – have chosen to retain the dividends without cashing out.