Chinese mobile payment platform Alipay is set to make a foray into Laos after Lao Development Bank (LDB) entered into an agreement with KIWI Company to roll out the service.
KIWI Group, a fintech operator in Southeast Asia, provides cashless payment solutions for its clients.
The service will allow users to make payments and transactions at stores and restaurants in Laos that are partnered with LDB.
The application also can be used to pay visa fees on arrival at the Boten International Checkpoint in Luang Namtha province, which borders Yunnan province in China, and at the 4th Friendship Bridge International Checkpoint in Bokeo province.
Those who want to use the service need to register in China, and LDB will provide facilities for transaction services only.
Alipay is a third-party mobile and online payment platform, established in Hangzhou, China in February 2004 by Alibaba Group. It is one of the most used mobile payment applications in China, with more than 1 billion users.
This came after Banque pour le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public (BCEL) joined hands in July with Chinese payment service provider UnionPay International (UPI) to roll out a new QR code payment service in Laos.
The move will enable UnionPay app users to make payments by scanning QR codes at local stores in the country. UnionPay currently operates one of the most popular mobile payment apps in China, with about 150 million users across 18 cities.
Such developments are a boon to Laos, which is currently pushing its tourism campaign, Visit Laos-China Year 2019, to attract more Chinese tourists.
More than 4.1 million visitors came to Laos in 2018, an 8.2 percent increase compared to 2017. Among them, over 800,000 tourists came from China, a rise of 26 percent, according to the Lao Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism.