KARACHI: Alipay, the online payment platform owned by Ant Financial and Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba is set to commence its services in Pakistan by end of 2018, said Telenor’s chief executive Irfan Wahab Khan
According to a report published in Express Tribune, presently Ant Financial is in the process of seeking approval from the banking regulator State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to start offering financial services in the country.
Back in March, Alibaba’s Ant Financial said it would invest $184.5million for a 45 percent stake in Telenor Microfinance Bank (TMB), a subsidiary of Telenor Group, to further develop TMB’s mobile payment and digital financial services.
The strategic partnership between Telenor Group and Ant Financial combines TMB’s knowledge and local market presence with more than 20 million customers, and Ant’s technology in Alipay, the world’s largest digital payments platform, and other financial services to bring mobile payment and inclusive financial services to individuals as well as small and micro businesses in Pakistan.
The Telenor CEO is also a board member of Telenor Microfinance Bank.
And Alipay is in use in 110 countries across the globe, including the United States, Brazil, Russia, Germany, Turkey, Spain and many more.
Alipay is also the prefered method of conducting transactions on its sister e-commerce website Alibaba which is used by many Pakistani’s to order items from China.
In a comment to Profit, an e-commerce expert preferring anonymity said, “The entering of an international player like Ant Financial would be a gamechanger for the country’s e-commerce sector and help transform an economy which was predominantly still cash-based.”
He added, “E-commerce is still in a nascent stage in Pakistan and the entrance of Alipay and local tech firms like Avanza Premier Payment Services will offer consumers choice and promote healthy competition in the online payment sector.”
Also, at the start of August, it was revealed two technology firms in Pakistan, Avanza Group and Premier Systems announced to invest over $5 million in the gateway, which will connect individuals with merchants and banks.
The companies will set up the joint venture as Avanza Premier Payment Services (APPS).
Pakistan has been lagging behind its peers in setting up online payment gateway portals which would allow e-commerce to flourish and allow the ease to customers of paying anywhere on any device of their choice.
A report released by the central bank last week said “There were 1,094 locally registered e-Commerce Merchants having their merchant accounts in 8 banks as of the end of June 2018 showing limited boarding of e-Commerce merchants in the country. Consumers carried out 3.4 million online transactions of worth Rs18.7 billion on these locally registered e-Commerce Merchants during the year FY18.
“These transactions showed a significant YoY growth of 183.3 per cent and 98.9 per cent compared to the previous year. In addition to the above, domestically issued Debit, Credit and Pre-paid cards processed 6.8 million transactions of Rs. 39.7 billion on local and International e-Commerce merchants. In these e-Commerce transactions Credit Cards has the highest share both in volume and value of transactions,” said SBP.