Just six months into operations, local mobile payment platform Pi Pay has partnered with giant Chinese counterpart Alipay, looking to capitalise on the Chinese company’s broad network and to attract more merchants to its platform.
The partnership allows visitors from China to access Pi Pay merchants through Alipay.
Chinese tourists have been visiting Cambodia in record numbers, accounting for almost a quarter of the 5 million tourist arrivals last year, with a jump of 40 percent expected this year.
Pi Pay CEO Tomas Pokorny explained that this was a natural expansion for his company, whose app has reached 168,000 downloads across Cambodia, though participating merchants are located largely in Phnom Penh. Pi Pay anticipates expanding services to Siem Reap and to Sihanoukville – a city dominated by Chinese casinos and businesses – at the start of the new year.
“With more than 2 million Chinese tourists per year expected by 2020, the partnership we are announcing today is . . . about building warm and mutually beneficial partnerships between two countries,” he said, adding that Alipay customers will now have immediate access to the 1,400 merchants in Cambodia already accepting Pi Pay payments.
The partnership should not only be beneficial to the tourism industry, he added, but should also further support efforts to create a cashless society and strengthen financial security, literacy and infrastructure in the Kingdom.
“We believe that the rapid adoption of Pi Pay by over 150,000 users in Phnom Penh alone is a strong indicator that Cambodia is becoming an international player in financial technology on a par with the best in the region and the world,” he said.
Alipay, which was launched 13 years ago by an affiliate of Jack Ma’s e-commerce company Alibaba, currently has 520 million active users in China, operates in seven countries and offers its users access to over 70 million merchants. All of its users must have a Chinese bank account.
Cherry Huang, Alipay’s general manager of crossborder business for South and Southeast Asia, said the partnership would be well-received by Chinese customers anxious for the comforts of home while travelling through the Kingdom.
“The Alipay platform will allow local merchants to not only sell goods and services to Chinese tourists when they visit the country, but also reach active Alipay users remotely through the app before and after their trips to Cambodia,” she said.
“This will enhance and create a new retail experience for consumers, [generating] a mobile marketplace in Chinese tourists’ smartphones.”
She added that Alipay’s commitment to enabling a smart lifestyle at home and abroad for its Chinese users would be beneficial to Cambodian businesses.
“I strongly believe that this win-win partnership will benefit Chinese consumers and local businesses and at the same time, play a part in making Cambodia a truly cashless destination for our users,” she said.