Ant Financial Offers Details on its Mobile Payments Transport Push

April 23, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

We’ve seen Alipay branch out quite a bit over the last few months, making pushes into retailers the world over. One point that’s a little less considered is its more domestic operations, and it’s been no less busy on that front. In fact, it recently dropped word our way recapping some of the major moves it’s made of late in the transportation sector, making itself one of the leaders in mobile payments in public transportation.

The report noted that, right now, Alipay is available as an option in over 50 cities throughout China, including some of the biggest cities therein: Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai. That’s already an impressive score, but Alipay has amplified it from there, planning to be in over 100 cities by the end of 2019. This not only includes the major cities that so far haven’t had the Alipay touch involved, but also some smaller cities.

Alipay’s Offline QR Pay, which is built around the use of quick response (QR) codes, is proving to be a huge boost on this front, allowing for sub-second processing time for transit payments, and without the need for internet connectivity getting involved.

With Chinese residents taking around 300 million trips per day on public transport, there’s a clear reason to be involved. That’s millions of yuan per day in processing fees by even casual, conservative estimates, and it’s easy to see why Alipay would want a slice of that action.

What’s really surprising here, though, is why we’re not hearing more out of WeChat Pay on this one. The dichotomy has been, for some time now, “Alipay for big bucks, WeChat Pay for pennies.” What in the world is less “big bucks” than a bus ride? This would have been a prime opportunity for WeChat Pay to bring in new customers, though reports suggest that that is an option. WeChat Pay hasn’t missed the opportunity completely, though perhaps it hasn’t exploited it to the utmost, and that’s actually not a bad position. It will gain extra revenue and losses will be mild and more theoretical than anything. 

Still, the key point remains: Alipay is a big deal in China and in the rest of the world, whether it’s paying for luxury goods in San Francisco or a bus ride across Beijing.