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As user rates rocket, Alipay HK is winning Hong Kong’s mobile wallet war

Hong Kong consumers are embracing their mobile wallets, as a rising number of shoppers are going to the cash/card alternative habitually. What’s more, according to the latest study by GroupM, on this hard-fought battlefield, Alipay HK has outflanked the competition.

For GroupM’s “Mobile Wallet Study 2019” a total of 585 Hong Kong residents aged 18-54 (who had used a smartphone within the past 12 months) were invited in March 2019 to complete an online survey. The larger study has been tracking the rate of mobile wallet consumption in Hong Kong since 2017.

The results show a steady penetration of mobile wallet use observed across 2018-2019. Close to 90% of people aged 18-54 using smartphones in Hong Kong were considered mobile wallet users, an abrupt pick up since 2017. 95% of those could be considered active mobile wallet users, while 72% use it on a weekly basis. 

AliPay HK has become the city’s top player (67%) for the past 6-months of usage in 2019, far ahead of competitors PayMe (48%) and WeChat Pay (44%). When compared with other mobile wallets, AliPay HK holds sway on almost all brand attributes, including special offers (72%), wide coverage (64%), popularity (61%), and ease of use (53%). 

The study also finds AliPay HK to be the most engaging brand overall, with the broadest awareness base (85%) and the greatest strength at converting brand consideration and preference. AliPay HK has made a concerted effort by offering enticing promotions across the rapidly expanded selection of merchant networks, covering supermarkets, convenience stores, and wet markets.

PayMe –  a newer player, having entered the retail fray earlier this year – has penetrated near half of the mobile wallet market with a strong foothold of peer-to-peer (P2P) payment transactions. Meanwhile, WeChat Pay dropped from the top spot in 2018 to third place this year.

On the subject of consumer bevaiour and needs, the report found security to be one of the most major concerns for users when using a mobile wallet. More than one-third of users consider Apple Pay to have better safety, making it stand out from the rest of the pack in that regard. 

The banks used for mobile wallets are holding steady, HSBC has been dominating over the last two years, while Hang Seng Bank and Bank of China are neck and neck behind.

“Mobile wallet users are now growing steadily after an expeditious adoption as a result of the wider usage coverage and intensified promotion. Mobile wallet has become part of the habitual payment method,” commented CEO at GroupM Hong Kong, Melanie Lo.

“We have observed that half of mobile wallet users expressing interest in using more mobile wallets when travelling overseas. It demonstrates mobile wallets’ potentials to further expand the coverage out of Hong Kong in the near future.”

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