Li Ka Shing, Jack Ma join hands to bring digital wallet to HK

HONG KONG • Billionaire Li Ka Shing's CK Hutchison Holdings and Jack Ma's Ant Financial unit will form a joint venture to offer a digital wallet service in Hong Kong.

The wallet will come under the AlipayHK brand, which was launched in May, CK Hutchison said in a statement on Tuesday.

The mobile app will allow users to make in-store payments at 4,000 retail outlets. It will also offer insurance products as well as food and beverage vouchers.

The joint venture comes after the Hong Kong Monetary Authority started granting licences to operators last year that allowed consumers to store money in local versions of online wallets.

The city's de facto central bank granted licences to five stored-value facilities. Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings was one of the five approved to offer digital wallets to consumers in Hong Kong.

CK Hutchison's group co-managing director Canning Fok said the joint venture will benefit the conglomerate's telecommunications and retail customers.

CK Hutchison shares gained 0.9 per cent in morning trading yesterday, bringing their advance this year to 14 per cent, compared with the benchmark Hang Seng Index's 26 per cent surge.

The joint venture will also help CK Hutchison penetrate the lucrative mobile payment arena. The venture is expected to be completed by the end of this year, subject to regulatory approval, according to the company statement.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2017, with the headline 'Li Ka Shing, Jack Ma join hands to bring digital wallet to HK'. Print Edition | Subscribe