On Sept. 1, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority released and granted the first batch of Stored Value Facilities (SVF) licenses for five stored-value service providers, including Alipay and WeChat Wallet. With these new licenses, the two payment platforms finally have legal status in Hong Kong.
As early as 2007, Alipay entered the Hong Kong Market. According to statistics provided by the company, nearly 6,000 stores in Hong Kong offered an Alipay payment option by the end of July 2016, covering a wide range of retail outlets including department stores, convenient stores, supermarkets, hotels and theme parks. Since 2016, WeChat has also been working to offer its payment service to users in Hong Kong, gunning for the upper hand in mobile payment.
The Chinese mainland has been a global pioneer in third-party mobile payment. Cash-free consumption is now the norm for many Chinese people. Thus, as mainland citizens constitute a large proportion of the visitors to Hong Kong, Hong Kong retail businesses have become among the first to try this payment method.
The granting of SVF constitutes very good news for business owners in Hong Kong and mobile payment platforms alike. Hong Kong is an international financial center with a huge market and mature market management. The granting of payment licenses is an important step in the long-term international strategies of both Alipay and WeChat.