Blackhawk to Enable Participating Retailer Partners in the U.S. to Engage with Chinese Travelers
PLEASANTON, Calif., Jan. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Blackhawk Network, a global financial technology company, and Alipay, a leading digital payment platform operated by Ant Financial Services Group, have partnered to expand Alipay's mobile payment acceptance and engagement offerings to participating U.S. retailers. Leveraging Blackhawk's technology, the partnership will present an opportunity for Blackhawk's network of retail partners to elect to engage with visiting Chinese travelers. Blackhawk intends to roll out the service in select participating retailers beginning January 2018.
Alipay currently boasts more than 520 million active Chinese users. Through this partnership, Blackhawk's retailers intend to connect with Alipay users traveling in the U.S. by accepting in-store payment via Alipay and are searchable to users on Alipay's Discover platform. Retailers can increase brand visibility, drive store traffic and sales, reduce payment friction and gain valuable insight into their tourist consumers' preferences.
"Until now, Chinese tourists lacked convenient access to information on what payment methods were accepted at U.S. retailers they wished to visit," said Talbott Roche, CEO and president of Blackhawk. "Alipay is ubiquitous in China, and represents an effective way for retailers to engage with Chinese travelers. We are excited to offer our retail partners a way to better connect with Chinese consumers by alleviating the major pain points of shopping, researching and paying while visiting and ultimately, providing Alipay users with an excellent shopping experience while they travel here in the U.S.."
Blackhawk's innovative solution leverages in-store QR codes to access Blackhawk's proprietary platform which then enables instant issuance of a retailer's branded stored-value egift. In addition to mobile and online payments and money transfers, Alipay users can get local recommendations, find promotions, book a hotel, buy movie tickets or even make doctors' appointments directly within the app.
"Approximately 4 million Chinese tourists visit North America every year1. Many of those travelers are Alipay consumers already and are looking for the payment safety, convenience and efficiency they are accustomed to at home," said Souheil Badran, president of Alipay Americas. "We partnered with Blackhawk for its robust network of top-tier retailer partners, its innovative solutions and proprietary technology, and we are pleased to continue to provide Chinese travelers with a seamless shopping and payment experience in North America."
About Blackhawk Network
Blackhawk Network Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAWK) is a global financial technology company and a leader in connecting brands and people through branded value solutions. Blackhawk platforms and solutions enable the management of stored value products, promotions and incentive programs in retail, ecommerce, financial services and mobile wallets. Blackhawk's Hawk Commerce division offers technology solutions to businesses and direct to consumers. The Hawk Incentives division offers enterprise, SMB and reseller partners an array of platforms and branded value products to incent and reward consumers, employees and sales channels. Headquartered in Pleasanton, Calif., Blackhawk operates in 26 countries. For more information, please visit blackhawknetwork.com, hawkcommerce.com, hawkincentives.com or our product websites giftcards.com, giftcardmall.com, cardpool.com, giftcardlab.com and omnicard.com.
Operated by Ant Financial Services Group, Alipay is the world's largest mobile and online payment platform. Launched in 2004, Alipay currently has over 520 million active Chinese users and over 200 financial institution partners in China. Alipay has evolved from a digital wallet to a lifestyle enabler. Users can hail a taxi, book a hotel, buy movie tickets, pay utility bills, make appointments with doctors, or purchase wealth management products directly from within the app. In addition to online payments, Alipay is expanding to in-store offline payments both inside and outside of China. Over 40 million brick-and-mortar merchants now accept Alipay across China. Alipay's in-store payment service covers more than 35 countries and regions across the world, and tax reimbursement via Alipay is supported in 24 countries and regions. Alipay works with over 250 overseas financial institutions and payment solution providers to enable cross-border payments for Chinese travelling overseas and overseas customers who purchase products from Chinese e-commerce sites. Alipay currently supports 27 currencies. Follow us on Twitter @antfinancial and @alipay.
Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, as well as assumptions that, if they never materialize or prove incorrect, could cause the results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including, without limitation: risks related to the timing of acceptance by U.S. retailers of this new service, and future launch of new technology services. The statements contained in this press release that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements are often identified by the use of words such as, but not limited to, "anticipate," "believe," "can," "continue," "could," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "plan," "project," "seek," "should," "target," "will," "would" and similar expressions or variations intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements are based on the beliefs and assumptions of Blackhawk's management based on information currently available to management. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause actual results and the timing of certain events to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, those identified in the "Risk Factors" section in Blackhawk's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Furthermore, such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release. Except as required by law, Blackhawk undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements.
1 Ant Financial Proprietary Research - 2017