Astra Tech and Ant Group to launch Alipay+ cross-border digital payments solution in the UAE

Over 1.4 billion users can now pay via native e-wallets in UAE via Payby’s merchant network

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The Alipay logo is displayed next to a QR payment code on the app. — Reuters
The Alipay logo is displayed next to a QR payment code on the app. — Reuters

Published: Tue 5 Sep 2023, 11:07 PM

Astra Tech, the leading consumer technology holding group in the Mena region, announced a pioneering partnership with Ant Group, one of the world’s largest digital payment platforms. This transformative collaboration will witness the integration of Alipay+’s global cross-border digital payment and marketing solutions through the PayBy merchant network, encompassing the entire Abu Dhabi fleet of nearly 7,000 taxis and over 3,000 merchants nationwide. Commencing as soon as September, the integration aims to enable over 1.4 billion wallet users to conduct transactions seamlessly, directly from their home e-wallets while visiting the UAE, devoid of any currency conversion.

As projected by Statista, the UAE is expected to experience continuous growth in the number of international tourist arrivals from 2024 to 2028, with a total increase of 4.4 million arrivals per annum, representing a substantial rise of 44.99 percent. Suggesting that by the year 2028, the UAE will witness a seventh consecutive year of growth in arrivals, reaching a total of 14.2 million arrivals; this partnership’s significance grows apparent. Particularly, when considering the numbers provided by Dubai Tourism, which recorded 8.55 million visitors in the period of January to June 2023 alone. Responding to this trend, Astra Tech and Alipay+’s collaboration aligns with Dubai’s long-standing position as one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and powerhouse for global finance and businesses.

Astra Tech is among the first regional partners to launch Alipay+ solutions, adding to the company’s portfolio of groundbreaking fintech offerings on its Payby and Botim platforms. Under the partnership, the first wave of implementation will see PayBy’s merchant network capable of accepting payments from six Alipay+ partner e-wallets. Catering to tourists from regions such as China, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy, and more via their respective native e-wallets such as Alipay, MPay, Kakao Pay, GCash, TrueMoney and Tinaba.

Abdallah Abu Sheikh, Co-founder of Astra Tech and CEO of Botim stated: “Our milestone collaboration with Alipay+ aligns perfectly with the UAE’s commitment to enhancing the payment ecosystem and fostering a commerce-friendly environment. We are thrilled to partner with Alipay+ to enhance secure and seamless payment processes, in line with Astra Tech’s vision of fostering global financial inclusion. Equally, expanding our fintech services internationally is a testament to our dedication to enabling effortless accessibility of payment solutions on a global scale.”

Guoming Cheng, General Manager of Ant Group in Europe and Middle East, “Our alliance with Astra Tech not only opens doors to a seamless and integrated digital payment experience at physical stores in the Middle East, but also propels us towards a new era of strategic collaboration. This partnership leverages the combined global outreach of Alipay+ and PayBy-powered versatile and scalable integration solutions for the region. Furthermore, it extends an invitation to merchants to ride on the digitalization wave, together transform the retail landscape, and become part of this innovative ecosystem.”


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