Jack Ma Partners With Li Ka-shing to Offer Digital Wallet Service

Jack Ma, an advocate for cashless society, is partnering with Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing to offer a digital wallet service.

Author: Jacky Ho   

Jack Ma, an advocate for a fully cashless society, is partnering with Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing to offer digital wallet service.

The two sides announced that the Hong Kong-based CK Hutchison Holdings would form a new joint venture with Alibaba's Ant Financial Services Group to offer digital wallet service in Hong Kong. The establishment of the joint venture is awaiting approval from the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China.

If approved, the digital wallet service would be offered under AlipayHK.

In May 2017, Alibaba launched AlipayHK and gathered 100,000 active users in the first two weeks. The new mobile app allows users to make payments at 4,000 retail merchants by scanning a QR code. In addition to supporting in-store payments, users can also buy insurance products and also discover merchant deals and coupons.

Hong Kong has more than 50 million annual visitors and mobile communication technology is prevalent throughout the special region. These factors make Hong Kong a signature place to adopt digital wallet technology and to become an efficient cashless society.

In 2016, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority granted licenses to operators allowing users to store currency in local versions of digital wallets. Tencent, Alibaba's rival, was also granted the stored-value facilities license to offer digital wallets to Hong Kong users.

Canning Fok, group co-manager of CK Hutchison Holdings, said the partnership can leverage CK Hutchison's network, business operation experiences as well as Ant Financial's technology. The new venture would benefit the customers of CK Hutchison's telecommunications and retail businesses.