The Korea Herald


Naver Pay eyes Chinese debut this year

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : Aug. 1, 2023 - 15:19

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A user uses Samsung Pay to make payments at a Naver Pay-affiliated online store (Samsung Electronics). A user uses Samsung Pay to make payments at a Naver Pay-affiliated online store (Samsung Electronics).

Naver Financial, a financial platform owned by South Korean internet giant Naver, said Tuesday it aims to introduce a mobile payment system to be used at stores in China, allowing the company to provide a better shopping experience mainly for Koreans traveling there.

The company has recently signed partnership agreements with Alipay Plus and China UnionPay, two of China’s top three mobile payment services that also include WeChat Pay, as it aims to launch its popular mobile payment service, Naver Pay, in the burgeoning Chinese market.

“We plan to provide payment convenience and benefits that serve as a stepping-stone for domestic users to use it more comfortably overseas through improved user experience,” a Naver Financial official told The Korea Herald.

The official said the company is not currently in discussions for a partnership with WeChat Pay.

Whether the service will allow users to pay in Korean won or local currency has not yet been decided, the official added.

The accumulated number of affiliated stores of Alipay Plus and UnionPay is said to be about 59 million in China. Through the partnerships, Naver Pay will likely make payments available at most affiliated stores there.

The upcoming service will allow Naver Financial to become the first mobile payment service provider here working with more than two of the major mobile payment firms in China, while the country’s top three mobile wallets are Alipay, WeChat Pay and UnionPay.

Naver has also decided to maintain its partnership with Line Pay, the mobile payment service created by the South Korean internet giant’s Japanese affiliate Line and operated by its subsidiary Line Pay, in the Japanese market until the end of this month.

Since Line Pay specializes in mobile payments in Japan, it is assessed as a less versatile service than Alipay Plus, which has over 1 million affiliated stores in Japan. Naver is expected to focus on its mobile payment business with the new Chinese partner in the neighboring country.

Naver also looks to boost its performance by expanding its overseas payment services. Since Alipay and UnionPay services have been commercialized in Southeast Asian payment markets such as Vietnam and Hong Kong, it is hoping to expand its presence there with the mobile payment service.

According to Naver Financial officials, the number of monthly active users of Naver Pay marked some 16.8 million at the end of last year. About 40 percent, or 5.4 trillion won ($4.21 billion) worth, of payments were made through Naver Pay among the cumulative amount of payments users made through Naver's fintech service in the first quarter of this year.