American retailer Wal-Mart has signed a deal with online payments provider Alipay to help consumers pay for goods in China. Wal-Mart will begin the cooperation within 25 of its outlets in Shenzhen. Based on the market response in this southern Chinese city, Wal-Mart plans to gradually expand the coverage of this new service throughout mainland China. Alipay is a related service of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce juggernaut. Financial terms of the deal were not released.
To enter Japan’s online payments market is to embrace battle with a hydra. Outstrip one competitor, another one grows just as a quickly. Well-known players include the likes of PayPal Japan, GMO Payment Gateway, and Rakuten Checkout. Nipping on their heels is a host of fast-growing payment-focused businesses led by Spike from Metapsand Line Pay with nascent services like Pay.jp from Base (Japan’s version of Shopify) waiting in the wings. Nevertheless, Stripe, the online payments wunderkind of Silicon Valley, announced its invitation-only private beta today, with an eye to having a full launch by the end of the year.
Face++, a face recognition tech startup from Beijing, today announced it raised an additional US$25 million as part of its series B round that began in November last year (h/t to 36kr). The fresh funding brings the company’s series B to a total of US$47 million. Innovation Works and Ignition Partners contributed to the initial funding, while the more recent investors have not yet been disclosed.
Chinese telecom firm Huawei said on Wednesday its mobile money platform is supporting the M-Pesa service for Kenyan mobile firm Safaricom after it successfully migrated 12.8 million active subscribers overnight. Huawei said migrating the service to its open, secure, flexible and high performing platform has realized the goal of “bringing M- Pesa home” to Safaricom users. Safaricom is partly owned by British firm Vodafone and the Kenyan government.
Kudo, an online-to-offline ecommerce startup from Jakarta, today announced a seven-digit funding round led by GREE Ventures and East Ventures (Disclosure: East Ventures also invests in Tech in Asia. See our ethics page). 500 Startups and IMJ Investment Partners also participated in the round. This new funding comes just a few months after Kudo announced its seed round from East Ventures in November 2014.
Imagine the day when scanning your face, waving your phone, or using some kind of a wearable are the new norms of paying for goods and services. The transactions could be anything – from buying a train ticket to sending money to a relative, buying clothes in the mall, or riding a jeepney. The world dreams of a cashless society. And as it acquires a multitude of non-cash payment options, this dream only comes closer. The progress of economies varies, though.
China’s tech giants are working hard to make sure that consumers use their phones to pay for things. Today Alipay Wallet, the Alibaba-affiliated mobile wallet, announced it now enables Chinese users to fulfill municipal fees in 12 cities. Clicking on a new “City Services” tab inside Alipay Wallet draws up a menu with options to book hospital appointments, pay for parking tickets, settle gas and water bills, and even buy gasoline. Users can also look up information regarding traffic and public transportation, and manage other minor bureaucratic tasks.
Bitcoin is a global phenomenon, but not everyone around the world uses it in the same way. Here in Asia, the way a person from the Philippines uses bitcoin is probably very different from how it’s used in Thailand, and both are very different from the typical user in Taiwan. Despite bitcoin being hailed as “borderless,” these use cases tend to vary by country due to factors like government policy, economics, and culture. To help visualize these trends, we reached out to half a dozen Bitcoin thought leaders from some of the region’s most prominent bitcoin businesses.
NSW residents should be able to pay for a licence renewal or parking fine with PayPal, Apple Pay from their smartphone, or streamlined credit card payment processes like Visa Checkout within 12 months. NSW Minister for Finance and Services Dominic Perrottet today announced the state government would integrate the modern payment capabilities into Service NSW’s new whole-of-government payments platform.
Hong Kong-based bitcoin remittance startup Bitspark announced today that it has closed a new funding round and secured a new security partnership to strengthen its offerings. Details of the funding round were not disclosed, but Bitspark says the total sum was “six figures” (USD) and that the round was driven by “prominent financial technology investors and executives.” The company says this latest round will help it expand its service offerings.
A year after China began tightening regulations around Bitcoin, the virtual currency is still thriving in the country, albeit on the fringes, according to its largest exchange. Bitcoin prices may have declined, but Chinese buyers are still trading the currency in high volumes with the help of BTC China, an exchange that witnessed the boom days back in 2013, only to see the bust following the Chinese government’s announcement, in December of that year, that banks would be banned from trading in bitcoin.
Stripe may be making its way to the Singapore market, if certain reports from local entrepreneurs are accurate. The US-based company that provides web and mobile payment methods to online businesses has seemingly been testing the waters in the area, where competing service Braintree has already established a presence. Stripe has been making waves in the online payments field since going public in 2011 and has received funding from such heavyweights as Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.
BEIJING: Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’sfinance arm and smartphone maker Xiaomi said on Thursday they will jointly develop mobile payment systems using wearable technology, a first for China’s major tech firms. Xiaomi and Ant Financial, an Alibaba affiliate which includes China’s most popular online payment service Alipay, will enable the Alipay Wallet mobile app to link with Xiaomi’s Mi Band smart fitness bracelet. That will let users smooth the process of making payments, bypassing the need for passwords.
Chinese and Russian technology companies plan to jointly launch an e-commerce platform which aims to promote the cross-border trading between China and Russia. Russian online payment system Yandex.Money will start handling payment services for China online payment platform TradeEase. This project is expected to be launched in summer of 2015 and its turnover is expected to reach USD830,000 within three months.
After hinting several times over the past year or so that it wants to accept Bitcoin on its marketplaces, Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten announced today that it will start to accept the cryptocurrency on its global marketplaces. The rollout will begin in America, and then spread to Rakuten Germany and Rakuten Austria. Bitnet, an enterprise-focused developer that creates bitcoin platforms, is Rakuten’s partner in the rollout.
Last night was Chinese New Year’s Eve. Amidst all the other festivities, China’s WeChat users sent each other an astonishing 1.01 billion red envelopes (pictured above), the social media company revealed this afternoon. The virtual red envelopes stuffed with actual cash, which mirror a long-held gift-giving tradition at Chinese New Year, are a growing trend in China as people make more use of online payment methods.
Last night was Chinese New Year’s Eve, when the lunar new year festivities kicked off with family reunions, big dinners, fireworks, and red envelopes stuffed with cash. That last tradition is increasingly shifting online in China. Alibaba just revealed that users of its Alipay Wallet app sent a grand total of RMB 4 billion in cash, which is US$642 million, to their friends and family members during the 24-hour period of Chinese New Year’s Eve.
The future does not look bright for bitcoin in Hong Kong as local lawmakers are urging the central bank to ban the virtual currency, following the scam that could have duped investors of up to US$387 million. The company at the centre of the scam, MyCoin, describes itself on its website as the “leading global bitcoin trading platform and application service provider.
Samsung will buy mobile payments company LoopPay in a direct play against rival Apple’s own payments platform. The companies today confirmed reports of an impending acquisition that surfaced in December last year. Samsung will acquire LoopPay – a mobile wallet solution provider – for an undisclosed amount. LoopPay’s technology turns existing magnetic stripe readers in point-of-sale (PoS) terminals into contactless receivers, Samsung said, meaning the service can be used in the majority of physical retail stores.
Line Pay, the payments solution-focused subsidiary of Japanese messaging company Line, has agreed to buy out Tokyo-based WebPay Holdings in order to accelerate Line Pay’s business expansion. WebPay provides a Stripe-compatible payment processing solutions for e-commerce, web services, and mobile developers in Japan.