Malaysia’s payments firm Payments Network Malaysia Sdn Bhd (PayNet) and China-based Alibaba Group’s fintech subsidiary Ant Group have on Wednesday launched their cross-border digital payments collaboration that has enabled travellers from eight regions to use PayNet’s DuitNow QR in Malaysia, further boosting international tourism and trade among these regions.

Effective 31 October 2023, travellers with the eight Alipay+ supported wallets can expect the convenience of travelling cashless to Malaysia and make digital payments by simply scanning PayNet’s DuitNow QR at its network of over 1.8 million merchants touchpoints throughout the country, The duo said in a statement.

The eight wallets are Alipay (China), AlipayHK (Hong Kong SAR), HelloMoney by AUB (Philippines), Hipay (Mongolia), MPay (Macau SAR), Naver Pay (South Korea), Toss Pay (South Korea) and TrueMoney (Thailand).

According to the statement, more Alipay+ payment partners are also in the pipeline and will progressively be enabled in Malaysia.

Additionally, the reciprocal connection to enable DuitNow QR users in Malaysia to make payment at Alipay+ global merchants is expected to gradually be in place from 2024 onwards.

It is noted that the Alipay+ merchant ecosystem currently includes tens of millions of merchants in more than 50 markets.

The collaboration was signified by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in August this year between Ant Group, operator of Alipay+ and PayNet, operator of DuitNow QR.

“With this collaboration with Ant Group, I am seeing a new Silk Route emerging; one that is powered by cross-border payment interoperability,” said Farhan Ahmad, Group Chief Executive Officer of PayNet.

With the partnership, he said businesses in the DuitNow QR ecosystem can immediately access travellers from eight more regions in an efficient, seamless, and secure way, bolstering trade and commerce.

“It could not have materialized at a better time. The Malaysian tourism industry is back on a steady growth path and will be further energized by Visit Malaysia Year in 2026,” he said.

According to him, collectively, these linkages will connect economies that contribute over two-thirds to global gross domestic product (GDP) growth and home to over 60 percent of the world’s population whose median age is younger than global average.

“At this rate, we may very well see ASEAN+3 economic integration sooner than we think,” he added.

It is noted that the DuitNow QR is the National QR Standard operated by PayNet, which enables participating merchants to accept real-time payments from customers of participating banks and e-wallet in this, as well as other connected regions with a single unified QR code.

“We are excited to collaborate with PayNet to make digital payments in Malaysia more convenient for users, with our partnership coming to life just as we approach the year-end travel season,” said Douglas Feagin, Senior Vice President of Ant Group and Head of Alipay+ Cross-Border Mobile Payment Services.

According to him, a recent report commissioned found that intra-Asia cross-border travel and payments will accelerate over the next few years, with average consumer spending almost doubling from 2016-2025.

“This growth reinforces the need to better connect local merchants with international visitors through payments, marketing and other digital services to not only enhance the travel experience, but also boost the local tourism ecosystem in Malaysia,” he said.

According to the statement, the collaboration will go beyond connectivity to encompass joint digital marketing initiatives, aiming to enhance the visibility of merchants’ businesses within users’ e-wallets.

Both parties will also collaborate through a marketing travel solution powered by Alipay+, for improved customer engagement, where international travellers using Alipay+ supported e-wallets’ can earn reward points or receive discounts and benefits at PayNet’s DuitNow QR merchants’ ecosystem.

PayNet is a national payments network and central financial infrastructure for Malaysia with the vision to empower Malaysia’s digital economy.

Its extensive retail payments suite, DuitNow (QR and P2P), JomPAY (Bill Payments), FPX (Online), MyDebit (Domestic Debit), MEPS (ATM), and IBG (Interbank GIRO) has near
ubiquitous coverage across the nation.

In addition, PayNet’s real time retail QR payments network, DuitNow, is also interoperable with domestic schemes in Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia to enable cross-border transactions with those regions.

PayNet is committed to promoting a secure, efficient, and innovative payments ecosystem in Malaysia, and works closely with its stakeholders to develop new products and services
that meet the evolving needs of consumers and businesses.

Ant Group is a firm aims to build the infrastructure and platforms to support the digital transformation of the service industry.

Through continuous innovation, the firm strives to provide all consumers and small and micro businesses access to digital financial and other daily life services that are convenient, sustainable and inclusive.

Alipay+ is a suite of cross-border digital payment, marketing and digitalization solutions that help connect global merchants to consumers.

With the digital payment, consumers can enjoy payment and a broad choice of deals using their preferred payment methods while travelling abroad.

Small and medium-sized businesses may also use Alipay+ digital tools to enhance efficiency and achieve omni-channel growth.

Ant partners PayNet to promote payment for inbound and outbound Malaysian travellers