Ant Financial Launched World’s First Blockchain Cross-Border Remittance Service

Alibaba has co-launched the world’s first blockchain cross-border remittance service on June 25.

AlipayHK, the payment service of Alibaba’s financial arm in Hong Kong, and GCash, a major provider of telecommunications services in the Philippines, have launched a cross-border remittance service using Ant Financial’s blockchain technology to support real-time transfers between Hong Kong and Philippines.

The first transaction took place today by an overseas Filipino worker, Mary Grace, who transfers money to her friends and family back home in the Philippines.
AlipayHK and GCash

The new digital remittance service helps save cost and time spent on queuing in long lines and filling forms at a remittance booth, said Jennifer Tan, CEO of Alipay Payment Services (HK) Limited (APSHK). With a few taps through AlipayHK’s mobile phone application, money will be transferred within seconds to a GCash user instead.

Participants at the launch event: from left to right, Mr. Cheng Li, CTO and International Business Group’s COO of Ant Financial; Mr. Douglas L. Feagin, President of International Business of Ant Financial; Ms. Lisa Robins, Global Head of Transaction banking, Standard Chartered Bank; Mr. Ernest L. Cu, President and CEO of Globe Telecom, Founder of GCash; Mr. Eric Jing, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ant Financial; Mr. Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, AYALA Chairman and CEO; Mr. Canning Fok, Group Co-Managing Director, CK Hutchison Holdings and Chairman, Alipay Payment Services (HK) Limited; Ms. Mary Grace B. Do-Oma, Overseas Filipino Worker in Hong Kong; Mr. Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group; Mr. Melchor T. Plabasan, Head of Core IT Supervision Group of the BSP’s Financial Supervision Sector; Mr. Frank John Sixt, Group Finance Director and Deputy Managing Director, CK Hutchison Holdings; Ms. Jennifer Tan, CEO of Alipay Payment Services (HK) Limited; Mr. Michael Gorriz, Group Chief Information Officer, Standard Chartered Bank

The blockchain-based remittance service offers a competitive exchange rate with much lower transaction fees which will even be waived during an initial three-month trial period, according to the Ant Financial statement.

Jack Ma speaking in Hong Kong

Jack Ma, the CEO of Alibaba Group, while witnessing the exciting moment on site, said that he wants to make it possible for people to remit even 1 cent at almost no cost, in comparison to some other financial services.

Filipinos, the largest foreign community working in Hong Kong, remitted HK$4.4 billion (US$561 million) to their home country in 2016. More than 180,000 Filipinos are working as domestic helpers in the city.

Ant Financial official tweet

Founded in 2014, Ant financial is the payment-affiliate of Alibaba Group. Ant Financial Service Group raised $14 billion in a series C financing round earlier in June. The company has been investing in developments such as AI tech, blockchain, Cloud mini computing, loT and other related technologies.

“It makes a lot of sense for them to be focusing on technology because it plays to their strengths and it also fits the government’s view on the way that the financial industry would develop,”said Zennon Kapron, director at the Shanghai-based fintech consultancy Kapronasia.

Ant Financial is also preparing for an IPO in Hong Kong next year, targeting to raise $10 billion.