Alipay extends reach in Malaysia with Starbucks

Alibaba's mobile payment service is now available in 242 Starbucks outlets across Malaysia, allowing Chinese visitors to the country to pay with their Alipay accounts and domestic currency.

Alibaba's mobile payment platform is now available in all Starbucks outlets across Malaysia, enabling Chinese visitors to the country to use the service and pay in their domestic currency.

Operated by Alibaba's Ant Financial Services Group, Alipay was first introduced in Malaysia in April 2017 and currently available as a payment option in more than 5,000 merchants, including 7-Eleven stores as well as supermarkets and department stores.

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The mobile payment platform now was extended to 242 Starbucks outlets across the country, said Alibaba, which touted the service as a value-add for tourists from Mainland China. Accounting for Malaysia's third-largest international visitors, it said, more than 2.12 million Chinese tourists visited the country last year and this number grew 8.3 percent in the first quarter of 2017 over the previous year.

Alipay users from China would be able to locate the nearest Starbucks through the app's discovery function and pay for their beverage in Chinese yuan. Consumers in Malaysia also could sign up for a local Alipay account, but they would not be able to use their accounts in other countries.

According to Alibaba, the payment platform had more than 520 million active users, was supported by 450 financial institutions worldwide and available as an in-store payment option in more than 30 countries. More than 10 million brick-and-mortar retailers currently accepted Alipay in China, it said, adding that the platform currently supported 19 currencies.

Alibaba in April last year paid US$1 billion to acquire a controlling share in Southeast Asian e-commerce operator, Lazada Group, and in June invested another US$1 billion to boost its stake. The deal provided Alibaba access to six markets in the region, including Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and put the Alipay brand in front of consumers in four of these markets.

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