Hong Kong is adding QR code payments to its subway stations

A new shipment of our reporting program & # 39; QR codes are very alive in Asia: the Hong Kong subway system will soon allow its passengers to pay by scanning QR codes thanks to an agreement with Alibaba that was announced this week. [19659002] The association, which is with the affiliate of Ant Financial of Alibaba will be enabled the scan to pay function in 91 MTR metro stations from mid 2020. Passengers will simply use the Alipay application of Ant for Scan a code on the turnstile and then continue your trip as usual. They will be able to recharge their balance within the application, as well as through traditional methods.

MTR also covers trains, buses and more, but it is not clear if this payment option will extend beyond the metro.

Hong Kong already offers convenient payments without cash using its Octopus card system, which has diversified to cover travel and can be used for offline purchases among many other things. Octopus says there are some 35 million active cards in circulation today, covering 99 percent of the seven million inhabitants, and the program is widely admired by other Asian countries that are trying to replicate it.

However, to be around 35 million Octopus cards in circulation in Hong Kong

the Alipay solution also has its own merits. On the one hand, QR code scans will work in places where Internet connections are slow or inconsistent, and the system could (should) mean that visitors from mainland China and other countries that already use Alipay can access it directly.

For now Alipay is best known in China, where it claims more than 500 million users, but Ant Financial is aggressively developing its presence in Southeast Asia, Korea and other markets. It seems likely that you are interested in linking these systems with this Hong Kong program.

It is also likely that there is much beyond metro travel.

Ant Financial operates a joint venture – APSHK – in Hong Kong with telecommunications giant Hutchison, whose goal is to bring its technology and services to the city. It already covers offline payments and has support for taxis, but you can bet that, like Octopus, this deployment of MTR will be a base to expand its services in Hong Kong to much wider areas, perhaps reflecting China, where Alipay is a "Swiss knife". & # 39; application that goes way beyond payments.

"Not only is it a recognition of the technological stability of AlipayHK, but we are confident that the QR code transit technology will be successfully expanded to more aspects, in addition to gradually merging with Hong Kong public transport, we will also be Exploring smart mobility in overseas travel by entering the most popular tourist destinations in Hong Kong, driving smart mobility through Hong Kong, "said Jennifer Tan, CEO of APSHK. ] So, while there are sophisticated solutions for cashless transport such as Apple Pay, which works on Tokyo's public transport system, more basic options such as QR codes are not discounted.