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Mobile payments

Alipay unveils ‘Double 12’ festival to heat up Christmas shopping season

The event, which starts on December 12, will cover Hong Kong, India, Thailand, the Philippines and 11 other markets around the world

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 December, 2017, 10:58pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 December, 2017, 1:16pm

Alipay, the mobile payments arm of China’s Ant Financial Services Group, has teamed up with strategic partners to launch a major new shopping event on December 12, called the “Double 12” international festival, to help push its expansion in key markets around the world.

The event, which will take place in 15 markets across four continents, will includes strategic payments partners CK Hutchison Holdings in Hong Kong, Paytm in India, Truemoney in Thailand and GCash in the Philippines.

“This concept is about developing Alipay globally, while also developing localised service offerings,” said Douglas Feagin, the president of international business at Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding.

“Double 12” will be held about a month after Alibaba’s global Singles’ Day online shopping extravaganza on November 11, when the Hangzhou-based e-commerce company hit a record 168.2 billion yuan (US$25.4 billion) in gross merchandise volume – the total amount of transactions that day on its online retail platforms.

Alipay’s event, however, will serve as an offline version of Singles’ Day as the mobile payments company joins forces with bricks-and-mortar stores in 15 markets, offering in-store retail promotions throughout December.

In Hong Kong, the AlipayHK joint venture with Hutchison has partnered with more than 8,000 bricks-and-mortar stores in the city to offer exclusive gifts, discounts and rewards from December 12.

In addition, vendors in the Po Tat Market in the city’s Kwun Tong district will offer a “1 dollar groceries” flash sale on that day.

CK Hutchison, the flagship conglomerate of Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, and Alipay formed their AlipayHK 50-50 joint venture in September to extend the reach of Alipay’s digital wallet service in the city. The venture remains subject to regulatory approval, and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year.

Paul Haswell, a partner at international law firm Pinsent Masons, said in September that it would not be surprising to see Ant Financial take advantage of Li’s “global empire” to drive Alipay’s adoption around the world.

Ant Financial initially rolled out AlipayHK’s mobile wallet and payments app in Hong Kong in May, heating up competition in the market against Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay and Tencent Holdings’ WeChat Wallet service.

New York-listed Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.