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Ant Financial launches blockchain-powered cross-border remittance service

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By Danielle Long | Asia Pacific Correspondent

June 26, 2018 | 3 min read

Ant Financial, the financial services arm of Alibaba, has launched a cross-border remittance service that is powered by blockchain technology.

Alipay HK & GCash

Alipay and GCash launch a blockchain-powered cross-border remittance service

The service, which has been launched by the Hong Kong division of Ant Financial’s online payment platform AlipayHK and micro-payment service GCash, will operate through the companies’ e-wallet platforms to enable money transfers between people in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

The service will target Hong Kong’s large Filipino community of expatriates who regularly send money home to their families in the Philippines. The Philippines is the third largest remittance market receiving $33bn of inflows in 2017.

Ant Financial claims it is the first blockchain-based cross-border digital wallet remittance service globally. The service uses blockchain technology to improve the speed, transparency and security of transactions while reducing the costs for sending money across borders.

The service, which is supported by Standard Chartered Bank, will offer a three-month trial period during which time transaction fees will be waived in a bid to attract users.

Alipay plans to expand this service to offer it to other markets, according to Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma, who spoke at the event launch in Hong Kong.

Ma said the company aimed to extend blockchain based remittances beyond Hong Kong and the Philippines and criticised financial institutions for charging too much for overseas payments, according to media reports.

Earlier this year, Ant Financial was forced to abandon its $1.2 billion bid to purchase global payment service Moneygram after failing to gain approval from the US Government. After the deal was blocked the two companies signed a strategic partnership with plans to work together to develop strategic initiatives in the remittance and digital payments markets.

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