Alipay, Alibaba’s mobile payment unit, is pushing into non-yuan payments, releasing a version of its mobile payment service in Hong Kong dollars.
According to a report, Ant Financial, the financial services unit of Alibaba, said the Hong Kong dollars-denominated AlipayHK app will be accepted at more than 2,000 stores in Hong Kong starting this week, with plans to expand it to more merchants. The goal is for retailers in more than 8,000 Hong Kong stores that accept yuan-based payments to convert to the Hong Kong one.
“Introducing local currency mobile payments to Hong Kong is an important step forward in Ant Financial’s mission to bring our services to more users in more markets,” said Douglas Feagin, SVP of Ant Financial, in the report.
While AliPay is expanding outside of the U.S., it is also making inroads in America, announcing in April Alipay will be linking with Visa to establish a new payment method targeted to millennials, enabling acceptance at any online merchant that accepts Visa Checkout. The stunner: Paris Hilton will be the face of the joint effort, to be named “ValiPay.” In an announcement, the two tech and commerce juggernauts conceded that “you simply cannot get traction, or even a headline, without the word pay in it.” They also acknowledge the well-known fact that millennials love retro — “vintage” — and that nostalgia marketing is a surefire way to win their attention — and brand loyalty.
Embracing the 1980s Valley Girl lifestyle, a full-blown advertising campaign will kick off via the web with commercials starring the erstwhile starlet, showing Paris using the combined service by tapping Visa Checkout/Alipay buttons. The tagline: “ValiPay. Everywhere You Want To Be. Like, For Sure.”