Alipay+ Payment Tech: Transforming e-wallets and extending growth horizon

In the fast-evolving landscape of financial technology, innovation and reliability are the cornerstones of success. Alipay+ Payment Tech, developed by Ant International, stands as a shining example of these principles. 


Alipay+ Payment Tech recently won accolades at the Asian Technology Excellence Awards in the E-Wallet - Financial Technology category. This recognition underscores the technology’s pivotal role in accelerating the development of the e-wallet industry and enabling major players across Southeast Asia and Africa.


In a conversation with Li Zhixian, Senior Director of Alipay+ Payment Tech at Ant International, we gained insights into the transformative capabilities of this cutting-edge solution and its impact on the world of digital finance. Li Zhixian sheds light on how Alipay+ Payment Tech has enabled e-wallets to provide superior services, the mutual benefits derived from partnerships, the significance of financial inclusion in today's digital ecosystem, and the profound impact of winning the prestigious Technology Excellence Award.


You have partnered with major e-wallets in Southeast Asia and South Africa to provide world-class system capabilities. What capabilities did your solution provide that improved their performance? In what ways does Alipay+ Payment Tech empower these e-wallets to provide better services?


Firstly, we prefer to use the word “enable” or “help” instead of “empower” in this context. As we collaborate with a diverse range of corporate customers to provide Payment Tech solutions, we are increasingly aware of how critical it is to combine experience and insights from markets across the world with the local requirements of customers, thereby maximising the effectiveness of our solutions. 


According to our understanding, e-wallets are the foundation of consumer-end fintech service, which is essentially a type of mobile internet business. To support the development of an e-wallet and its evolution into a Super App, a platform needs to be equipped with both functional features and platform (non-functional) capabilities. Functional features are related to payment, financial services, and digital life services. Platform capabilities are technical features such as availability, stability, delivery speed, etc.


To evaluate the competency of an e-wallet platform, it is necessary to proceed from the angle of the mobile internet, and also the trilogy for e-wallet’s development: digital payment, a broader range of financial services (such as lending and insurance), and digital lifestyle services (through mini-programs). 


Our payment functionality has been designed with best practices and experiences accumulated from various markets, including Asia and Africa, enabling e-wallet customers to provide better services and improve business performance. Our solutions are inherently designed for the mobile internet era, providing full life-cycle management of users, namely AARRR (Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Revenue and Referral). This is further enhanced by a comprehensive toolbox with diversified marketing capabilities and mini-program capabilities.


In terms of functional features, Alipay+ Payment Tech provides a set of “out-of-the-box” capabilities that help e-wallet customers accelerate their time-to-market without having to reinvent the wheel. E-wallet customers can use a full set of online and in-store payment capabilities. In addition, the solutions have built-in marketing tools such as registration bonuses, referrals, vouchers, direct discounts, e-sticker collections, and “shake to claim” features. These tools can help e-wallets acquire and retain users and have been integrated successfully by e-wallet customers worldwide. 


Providing financial services to users and merchants is also crucial for e-wallets. Alipay+ Payment Tech provides a Digital Lending Solution, which includes a Loan Management System (LMS) and Credit Risk Engine (CRE), providing technical capabilities for e-wallets to build and operate Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL) and cash loan products. It is worth noting that whilst Alipay+ Payment Tech offers a technical system for e-wallets to build their own lending business, it does not provide funding for the loans to e-wallets."


More importantly, as an e-wallet develops, it may expand its use cases and provide additional services to users. To support these needs, Alipay+ Payment Tech can help e-wallet customers build up their mini-program capabilities, facilitating their digital operation and the development of digital ecosystem. The technical solution for mini-programs, once only mastered by Big Techs, is now available for all e-wallets to help them evolve into Super Apps. 


Alipay+ Payment Tech also provides robust and AI-powered risk management solutions that enable e-wallets to effectively deal with account theft, card theft, and marketing fraud. This ensures the safety of e-wallet accounts and maximises the effectiveness of marketing efforts. Moreover, these risk management solutions are embedded throughout all parts of our solutions, making risk management an integral part of business operations. 


Last but not least, Alipay+ Payment Tech offers a multi-tiered certification system that has trained and certified thousands of professionals, including CTOs and senior technical leaders. This training program is also a partner of the 10x1000 Tech for Inclusion, an open and global fintech learning platform that enables learners to become drivers of digital economic growth. The development of technical talents lays a solid foundation for the long-term growth of our customers.


In terms of platform (non-functional) capabilities, Alipay+ Payment Tech leverages distributed and cloud-native computing architecture, and its technical stack brings high availability, high scalability, low cost, and disaster resilience and recovery capabilities through dual/multi-active data centres. With Alipay+ Payment Tech, e-wallet customers can focus on their businesses without worrying about the stability of their technical system during peak hours. Additionally, their demands for cloud computing resources can be flexibly adjusted according to the seasonality of their businesses, thereby saving cost and improving efficiency. 


The technical stack also enhances agility for customers. The internet industry is well-known for its fast-paced iteration, and with Alipay+ Payment Tech, e-wallets can release new features every two weeks without interrupting their business operations during the technical release. 


How has this venture been like for you and your partner companies? What are your main takeaways from these partnerships?


Our collaboration with e-wallet customers is productive and mutually beneficial, which is very exciting. During these collaborations, we provide our generally proven experience and know-how to local customers in their respective markets, combining general experience with local requirements. This is not a one-way “empowerment,” but rather a two-way experience from which we can learn from our customers. With these insights, we can further improve our technical and product capabilities to support long-term development. 


Alipay+ Payment Tech provides a proven technical platform, a well-designed R&D management system, sufficient documentation, and a multi-tiered training and certification system for e-wallet customers. As a result, e-wallet customers can adopt new technologies and quickly build their own R&D teams. With competencies in place and our support on product customisation, local engineers can tailor-made products to cater to local needs. 


During the development of e-wallet customers, we are also very excited to see the rise of the local digital commerce ecosystem. Increasingly more merchants are joining this mini-program-powered ecosystem to provide a wide range of services to users. This process brings digital operation to merchants, convenience to users, and benefits the lives of local communities.  


Amidst a growing digital ecosystem for financial services, why is having a strong, financially inclusive e-wallet solution crucial in the market? How does your company lead this move?


Since 2016, Ant Group has worked with global partners to build an open and inclusive ecosystem by sharing proven mobile payment technologies. We leverage our technical know-how and experience to assist partners in developing their own e-wallets and mobile apps. 


Alipay+ Payment Tech now provides a reliable and stable solution for e-wallet customers to accelerate digital transformation and explore more revenue opportunities, as seen from VodaPay’s case in South Africa.


Alipay+ Payment Tech also enables end users to enjoy a wide range of services, including digital payment, deposit, wealth management, and lending, as well as various services provided by merchants through mini-programs. It was previously inconvenient and costly for users to open bank accounts and enjoy various financial services and lifestyle services. Alipay+ Payment Tech helps e-wallets provide these services to users. 


In many emerging markets, the specifications of mobile phones are not quite advanced. With mini-programs, users do not need to download multiple apps to access various services, and a one-stop local lifestyle platform can bring all kinds of services to users’ fingertips. 


What are your thoughts about winning the Technology Excellence Awards? How will this success boost your company’s business?


We are honoured to receive this award and would like to express our appreciation to our e-wallet customers who have placed their trust in our solutions and services. It is through these successful collaborations and the trust of our customers that we have become who we are today. We would also like to extend our gratitude to the esteemed panel of judges for their recognition. Winning this award is a major milestone for Alipay+ Payment Tech. 


Looking forward, as stated in Ant Group’s vision statement, “We hope that everyone can enjoy inclusive and green financial services; every small and micro-enterprise can have equal development opportunities; and through our open collaboration with partners, everyone can access digital life services with ease.”

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