June 25, 2018
AlipayHK and GCash today announced the launch of a cross-border remittance service through their e-wallet platforms, powered by cutting-edge blockchain technology developed by Alipay, the online payment platform operated by Ant Financial Services Group (“Ant Financial”, “Ant”). This is the first blockchain-based cross-border digital wallet remittance service globally, offering a fast, secure, convenient, transparent and low-cost way to transfer money directly between individuals in Hong Kong and the Philippines.
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Mary Grace (left), who has been working in HK for 22 years, demonstrated how it took her 3 seconds to transfer money to her family back in the Philippines, through the mobile payment app AlipayHK (Photo: Business Wire)
Alipay has applied blockchain technology to streamline the remittance process, radically improving the speed of delivery, enhancing transparency of the process and drastically reducing costs while ensuring better security measures when sending money across borders. This service between GCash and AlipayHK will provide round-the-clock, real-time money transfer between Hong Kong and the Philippines at a competitive exchange rate with much lower transaction fees, which will be further waived during an initial three-month trial period. With a few taps through AlipayHK’s mobile phone application, money will be transferred within seconds to a GCash user.
Blockchain technology allows us to change and radically improve the speed and efficiencies for remittance services. Based on the smart contract, once a user submits a remittance application, all network participants including AlipayHK, GCash and Standard Chartered Bank, the first and core partner bank supporting on this initiative, are notified. The segmented procedures of the remittance process can consequently take place in parallel, enabling the verification and execution of the transaction to occur simultaneously. Through the blockchain platform, the sender and receiver are also able to track their money with every step of the way – from when the remittance application was made, until when the receiver successfully obtains the money. All information stored, shared or uploaded through the blockchain remittance platform is further encrypted with the most advanced protocols to protect the user’s privacy.
“We are very excited to introduce this new remittance solution to our users in Hong Kong, and in particular to the Filipino community in the city,” said Jennifer Tan, CEO of Alipay Payment Services (HK) Limited (APSHK). “What used to be a long process of physically going to a remittance booth, queuing in line for hours and filling out forms, is now easily and securely done over the mobile phone in just a few seconds. Together with GCash, we aim to provide Filipino expatriates a more convenient, seamless experience to transfer money back home to their families in the Philippines. We will also continue to provide tailor-made solutions for our customers as we aim to enhance their daily lives through our secure and fuss-free approach.”
Canning Fok, Group Co-Managing Director of CK Hutchison Holdings and Chairman of Alipay Payment Services (HK) Limited said, “This cooperation with GCASH to bring remittance to the Philippines using the new technology is the first step and there are many other places Hong Kong people need to remit money. I’m happy to see that the AlipayHK team is hard at work to expand this service to more people, bringing us closer to our families and friends with a cheaper and quicker solution.
Anthony Thomas, President and CEO of Mynt, the operator of GCash said, “GCash is building a cashless ecosystem to make financial services affordable and accessible to every Filipino as we aim to provide the Philippines’ underserved market with convenient options for load top-up, remittance, and cashless payments for goods and services, among others. This time, in partnership with AlipayHK and Ant Financial, GCash is able to achieve another breakthrough to make sending money to the Philippines easier, more convenient, and more secure for Filipinos abroad. We believe that for overseas Filipinos, sending money home to their family’s GCash mobile wallet will soon be the norm.”
Standard Chartered has been an integral partner in the development of the solution and will provide the underlying banking infrastructure to support this pivotal initiative.
Lisa Robins, Global Head, Transaction Banking, Standard Chartered, said, “Remittances are a lifeblood of many communities in the Philippines, the third largest remittance market with US$33 billion of inflows in 2017. We are proud to collaborate with Ant Financial, and act as their banking partner for this new service to make remittances easier, cheaper and more secure. This evidences our joint commitment to deliver financial services to the unbanked and underbanked and exemplifies our “Here for Good” brand promise.”
Eric Jing, Executive Chairman and CEO of Ant Financial said, “We are thrilled to witness AlipayHK and GCash jointly launch the groundbreaking cross-wallet remittance function. Ant Financial is dedicated to exploring fintech breakthroughs and applying them to benefit more people in more places. This is a new starting point and significant step forward in accelerating Alipay’s pace to promote tech for good, and financial inclusion globally. Through leveraging our technological capabilities, we are committed to bringing financial services to the large underserved populations in Asia and beyond together with our ecosystem partners who share our vision and mission.”
“Ant Financial and Alipay have been exploring the cutting-edge blockchain technology since 2015. Blockchain is revolutionizing the remittance industry, and we look forward to further innovating and expanding the application of the technology in global remittances, together with local wallet partners and other ecosystem partners,” Jing added.
Since the launch of Alipay in 2004 and the establishment of Ant Financial in 2014, the Company has built an integrated technology platform and ecosystem of partners to bring more secure, transparent, cost-effective and inclusive financial services to individuals and SMEs globally. The Company will continue to invest in developing its blockchain, AI, security, IoT and computing capabilities to upgrade its global technology platform for the next generation.
Starting from 2015, Alipay has formed nine strategic partnerships with local partners outside Chinese mainland, sharing their technology know-how and risk management capabilities to provide more mobile payment and inclusive financial services to local users. In the year ended March 31, 2018, Alipay, together with its global partners, served approximately 870 million annual active users globally and over 15 million small businesses in China.
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The electronic wallet is operated by Alipay Financial Services (HK) Limited, the licence holder of Stored Value Facilities, and supervised by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. APSHK is a joint venture established and managed by the CK Hutchison Holdings Limited and Ant Financial Services Group. For more information, please visit www.alipay.hk
Currently, over 20,000 local retail outlets have supported electronic wallet for payment, covering large chain stores, supermarkets, wet markets, taxies and others. Features of electronic wallet include payment on Taobao and TMall, P2P transfer, electricity payment, telecom payment, etc., making Hong Kong residents’ lives more convenient by integrating mobile payment into daily lives.
GCash is an internationally-acclaimed micropayment service that transforms the mobile phone into a virtual wallet for secure, fast and convenient money transfer. GCash can be used to buy prepaid load, pay bills, send money, make donations, shop online and even purchase goods without the need to bring any cash. For more information, please visit https://www.globe.com.ph/gcash
About Ant Financial
Ant Financial Services Group is dedicated to using technology to bring the world equal opportunities. Our technologies, including blockchain, artificial intelligence, security, Internet of Things and computing, empower us and our ecosystem partners to serve the unbanked and underbanked, bringing more secure, transparent, cost-effective and inclusive financial services to individuals and SMEs worldwide.
Ant Financial has formed international partnerships with global strategic partners to serve local users in those markets, and we serve Chinese travelers overseas by connecting Alipay with online and offline merchants in popular destinations. By the end of March 2018, together with its global JV partners, Ant Financial served 870 million users worldwide. Brands under Ant Financial Services Group include Alipay, Ant Fortune, Zhima Credit, MYbank and Ant Financial Cloud.