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Vietnam approves Alibaba’s online payment platform: reports

Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba has signed an agreement with the National Payment Corporation of Vietnam (NAPAS) that will allow Chinese tourists to use its online payment platform in Vietnam.

The agreement with Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial services arm, will enable Chinese travelers to use the Alipay platform throughout Vietnam via NAPAS member banks and its intermediary payment service networks, according to business technology websites.

Under the agreement, people with cards issued by NAPAS member banks in Vietnam will be able to use Alipay to make purchases on Alibaba’s websites, such as AliExpress and Taobao.

NAPAS is the only intermediary payment service provider licensed by the central bank to provide electronic payment services in Vietnam. The corporation operates an inter-bank connection system with tens of thousands of ATMs run by 43 banks, including Vietnam’s top lenders Vietcombank, Vietinbank and BIDV.

“The collaboration with Alipay is part of our strategy to expand international cooperation and to explore new payment solutions,” NASPAS chairwoman Nguyen Tu Anh said, as cited by ZDNet.

Official figures showed that more than 3.2 million Chinese tourists visited Vietnam in the first 10 months this year, up 45.6 percent from a year ago and accounting for nearly a third of foreign arrivals.


Chinese tourists at UNESCO world heritage site Ha Long Bay. Photo by Reuters/Kham

A Bloomberg report last December, citing Credit Suisse figures, said a 30 percent increase in spending by Chinese tourists would boost Vietnam’s gross domestic product by nearly 1 percentage point.

Alipay, which has more than 520 million daily users globally, has been expanding its global presence along with China’s rising outbound travel.

The payment service entered the Australian market late last year under a similar agreement with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

News of the deal with NAPAS comes a week after Alibaba founder Jack Ma visited Hanoi and spoke at a prominent e-payment forum co-hosted by VnExpress and NAPAS.

At a meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Ma said he would consider establishing a store for Vietnam on Alibaba’s e-commerce app.

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