Chinese company Alipay will start offering its online payment services in Pakistan by the end of this year, local media reported on Wednesday.
Alibaba's Ant Financial had announced in March this year that it would purchase 45 percent stakes in Pakistan's Telenor Microfinance Bank (TMB), which is a subsidiary of the Telenor Group, at $184.5 million. The step was aimed at further developing Alibaba's mobile payment and digital financial services in Pakistan.
The Alibaba Group uses Alipay as its online payment platform and the Chinese e-commerce giant will commence its digital financial services in Pakistan by the end of this year, Chief Executive of Telenor Pakistan Irfan Wahab Khan, who is also a board member in the Telenor Microfinance Bank, told local media on Tuesday.
Alibaba is currently in the process of acquiring approval from the Pakistani banking sector regulator -State Bank of Pakistan - and the Competition Commission of Pakistan. The company will officially start its operations in Pakistan after the formal approval of the government organizations.
Alibaba is looking to tap Pakistan's mobile payment financial services sector in individuals as well as small and micro businesses.
China's biggest online shopping platform Alibaba also uses Alipay as the preferred method of transactions. A number of Pakistani individuals and businesses use Alibaba to order goods and products from China.
According to experts and analysts, the arrival of the international companies like Ant Financial is set to change the face of Pakistan's e-commerce sector.
They said Alipay, along with local tech firms, will provide a healthy competition in Pakistan's online payment sector.
According to a report by the State Bank of Pakistan, there were 1,094 locally registered e-commerce merchants in the country with their merchant accounts in eight local banks by the end of June 2018. Pakistani consumers carried out 3.4 million online transactions worth 18.7 billion Pakistani rupees ($153 million) during the fiscal year of 2017-18, it said.