Ayala tie-up with Jack Ma to popularize China’s scan-to-pay innovation in PH
Telco giant Globe Telecom launched its first service with the digital payments firm of Chinese billionaire and Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma: a QR scanning platform it hoped would jump-start the adoption of more cashless transactions in the Philippines.
Globe, owned by the country’s oldest conglomerate, Ayala Corp., said the new service would allow consumers to buy goods and services by scanning QR codes displayed by establishments using their mobile phones.
The platform, which requires Globe’s GCash mobile wallet app, uses technology from the tech visionary’s Ant Financial Services Group, the company behind Alipay, a digital payments service ubiquitous in China.
GCash’s scan-to-pay feature was first made available in Ayala Land’s Glorietta shopping mall in Makati City, but would soon be expanded to its other retail outlets.
Globe is targeting broad sections of the population, or some 75 percent without a bank account and 95 percent without a credit card.
“GCash is a product that was a little ahead of its time,” said GCash president Albert Tinio, referring to the company’s 12-year history, the lack of market understanding and even technology.
“We are small compared to Alipay,” Tinio said, noting that Alipay has 450 million users in China alone.
The upside remains significant, even among Globe’s own subscribers. GCash currently has five million users—a fraction of Globe’s 59.7 million mobile subscribers, most of which are on prepaid accounts. It competes with Paymaya, controlled by rival PLDT Inc.
Tinio said they were expecting to double GCash users within a year as people adopt the technology—premised on consumer convenience and lower costs for merchants, since they no longer needed to acquire expensive equipment.
Business owners only need to display these codes, which will be in the form of
a sticker. Tinio added they were expecting to have around 4,000 merchants by the end of the year, from the 700 today.
“Now that more people are using data on their smartphones, the time is ripe to enable digital payments using the smartphone and let this go mainstream,” Globe CEO Ernest Cu said on Wednesday.
“Our challenge today is to make digital payments the preferred choice among our customers instead of cash or credit cards,” he added.
Globe’s partnership with Ant Financial, a major third-party payment service provider, was only recently forged.
Alipay Singapore Holding Pte. had acquired 45 percent of Globe Fintech Innovations Inc. After the deal, Alipay owned 45 percent of Globe Fintech, Globe held the other 45 percent and Globe’s owner, Ayala Corp., had 10 percent.
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