Alibaba’s Ant Financial has entered into a strategic partnership with conglomerate CK Hutchison to form a joint venture to offer a consumer-oriented digital wallet under the ‘AlipayHK’ brand.

The new venture will integrate online and offline payments in Hong Kong. It will look to target Hong Kong’s tech-savvy population and more than 50 million visitors it receives annually.

“The joint venture aims at promoting an efficient and productive cashless society in Hong Kong as it is an ideal place to integrate digital innovation into the traditional retail experience,” according to a press statement.

The JV is expected to be active by the end of 2017, subject to regulatory approval.

CK Hutchison group co-managing director Canning Fok said: “The joint venture represents a remarkable step in the evolution of the consumer experience.  By leveraging CK Hutchison’s extensive market presence and combining its commercial experience with Ant Financial’s technology expertise, we will bring great benefits not only to our telecom, retail, and other customers of the Group, but also to all businesses in Hong Kong. This will, in turn, create greater shareholder value.”

AlipayHK garnered more than 100,000 active users in the first two weeks after its launch last May. It is now accepted in over 4,000 leading retail brand outlets in Hong Kong.

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