Date
21 October 2018
AlipayHK has teamed up with GCash to offer cash remittance service between Hong Kong and the Philippines. TNG Wallet, a local digital wallet firm that also provides remittance services, said it welcomes new competitors. Photo: HKEJ
AlipayHK has teamed up with GCash to offer cash remittance service between Hong Kong and the Philippines. TNG Wallet, a local digital wallet firm that also provides remittance services, said it welcomes new competitors. Photo: HKEJ

Filipinos in HK offered ‘faster, safer’ way to send money home

Blockchain, the technology that underlies bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, is being used to provide a faster and more secure remittance service for Filipino workers in Hong Kong.

Alipay Payment Services (HK)(APSHK), the Hong Kong-based joint venture of CK Hutchison Holdings (00001.HK) and Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of Alibaba Group, announced on Monday that its unit AlipayHK has teamed up with GCash, a Filipino e-wallet operator, to offer cash remittance service between Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Canning Fok Kin-ning, group co-managing director of CK Hutchison, who also chairs the board of APSHK, said AlipayHK, which now has 1.5 million users in Hong Kong and is accepted at 20,000 local shops, hopes to help Filipino workers in Hong Kong to remit money to their home country in a faster way, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

According to Ant Financial, the new service is the first of its kind to use blockchain, a data structure that enables storage of data among a distributed network of computers, which in turn can enhance speed and security of transactions.

In response to AlipayHK’s new move, a spokesperson for TNG Wallet, a major Hong Kong digital wallet firm that also provides remittance services, said it welcomes new competitors.

A spokesperson said TNG has the competitive edge of having been providing cross-border remittance service since 2016, adding that it plans to cover more areas around the world.

APS chief executive Jennifer Tan Yuen-chun said the company’s blockchain-powered remittance solution allows Filipinos in the territory to complete a transaction in only a few seconds via a mobile phone.

Parties participating in the transactions, AlipayHK, GCash and Standard Chartered Bank, will receive a notification at the same time. All information saved, shared and uploaded to the blockchain remittance platform is encrypted as well, Tan said.

The service is free of administrative charge in the first three months after its launch, Tan said.

Speaking at the launch event, Jack Ma, co-founder and executive chairman of Alibaba, said there are about 200,000 Filipino workers in Hong Kong and their total remittance amount reaches as much as US$700 million a year.

The main purpose of the new service is to help them remit their hard-earned money to their families in the Philippines in a faster, cheaper and safer way, Ma said, adding that the service is a fulfillment of a promise he made several years ago.

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TL/JC/CG

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