Alipay to Take Over As MTR’s Mobile Payments QR Code Vendor

November 20, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Alipay’s expansion efforts in the mobile payments world have gone on for some time now, and recently, its Hong Kong component AlipayHK dropped word our way about one of the latest moves. It’s just been declared the new quick response (QR) code payment solution vendor for Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Rail (MTR) system, and that will bring new functionality to the rail line starting in 2020.

When the process is complete, as is expected in mid-2020, AlipayHK’s QR code system will let users pay for tickets on the rail line just by tapping their phones at ticket gates. Passengers will be able to scan a code with sub-second response rates—0.4 seconds at last report—and that should speed up service significantly.

Should connectivity be down or otherwise slow at stops—everyone’s suffered through an internet outage at one point or another—the solution actually allows for offline operations as well. In fact, it’s got two different offline solutions in play, so even when the signal isn’t working, MTR can still sell tickets The plan, at last report, is to get the system in place on 91 different MTR stations starting in 2020.

Alipay Payment Services Hong Kong Limited CEO Jennifer Tan noted “…Commuting via QR Code is the trend for the future. Aside from gradually merging with Hong Kong’s public transports, we will also be exploring smart mobility in outbound travels by entering the most popular travel destinations of Hong Kong people, driving smart mobility across Hong Kong.”

It’s a good step forward for all concerned, and with good reason. Not only does this make travel a lot easier, it also helps keep MTR’s revenues stable. It doesn’t run the risk of losing service in the all-too-likely event of an internet outage, and it helps keep the traffic flow going smoothly for MTR riders. With transaction times down in the sub-second range, they should be able to keep lines at the ticket booths to a minimum, and that makes a better customer experience.

Alipay and MTR should enjoy a long association here, thanks in no small part to the sheer level of utility that the combination will bring to the table. The real winner here should be MTR riders, who will have a smoother, easier time riding the rails.