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Ant Financial aims for ‘cashless’ cities in China

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Alibaba’s financial arm Ant Financial is looking to create more “cashless” cities across China, with the latest agreement inked with Tianjin municipality in North China.

The city-wide “cashless” campaign pushed by the e-commerce giant is the fourth installment to hit China, following similar initiatives in Hangzhou — where Alibaba is based — followed by Wuhan and Fuzhou.

As with the other “cashless” cities, Tianjin residents will soon be able to pay for an array services and goods using their mobiles when paying bus fares and medical bills, as well as school tuition and social security.

It will be officially rolled out by the end of 2017, as reported by the China Economic Times.

However, going “cashless” does not mean money will become obsolete. It will simply allow customers to decide on the way of payment, Jing Xiaodong, the company’s CEO, said.

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Tianjin was chosen, said Jiang, as it has a good foundation for Internet Plus to make it the first cashless city in the north.

With a resident population of 155 million, sone 69 million are real-name registered Alipay users, according to China Economic Times. The city ranks 10th nationwide by mobile payment activities.

Ant Financial was a leading sponsor of a cashless alliance set up in April. The company earlier vowed to make mobile payment accessible in the whole country in the coming five years.

2017 has proven a busy year for Alibaba. Last week, the world’s largest e-commerce platform operator said it plans to enter Macau with a bevy of products and services. Last month, the group acquired an 18% stake in Lianhua Supermarket. Before that, the Chinese giant said it had invested US$1 billion in Southeast Asian online retailer Lazada Group, increasing its stake to more than 80%.

Looking ahead, said that in fiscal 2018 sales may increase by up to 49 per cent, 10 percentage points higher than estimates.