As Alipay, the largest online payment service provider in China, forges a strategic partnership with T-money, its entry into the Korean market is kicking into high gear.
The Korea Smart Card Corporation, the company behind T-money, announced on Dec. 3 that it will sell M-pass, a transportation card for foreigners, to Chinese tourists starting at the end of December, in partnership with Alipay. As a result, it will be easier for more than 8 million Chinese tourists who visit Korea each year to pay for transportation and shopping during their trips.
After purchasing M-pass online through Alipay, Chinese tourists are issued the card immediately at Incheon or Cheju airports. The service will be also available at the Kimpo Airport in the future.
Industry analysts are saying that this partnership between Alipay and T-money has something in common with President Park Geun Hye's suggestion to introduce an APEC transportation card at the APEC meeting in China on Nov. 11. At that time, President Park said, “I'd like to suggest creating a transportation card that can be used in the 21 APEC member countries so that the region can be more connected.”
Alipay is also selling similar transportation cards for Singapore, Taiwan, and Macao.
To make the transportation card usable in the two countries, however, there are problems to tackle, including those related to exchanging money and setting key currency, as well as settlement issues.