Ant Financial, the financial affiliate of Alibaba group, has announced a partnership with Fave, Groupon’s successor in Southeast Asia, to provide cross-border payment. The tie-up will first bring this service to Singapore.

Through this deal, Alipay users will be able to make payments via the Alipay app at restaurants and offline retailers that are part of the Fave ecosystem and gain special access to offers and rewards, much similar to its partnership with local O2O service providers in Chinese market.

Unsurprisingly, the service will first target Chinese outbound tourists to SEA, which is becoming an increasingly popular destination for Chinese travelers.

“Restaurants and offline retailers are the backbone of the economy in Singapore. . .  While more than 90% of retail spend is done offline, retailers are always looking for ways to reach out to mobile-savvy customers,” said Joel Neoh, former Groupon executive and founder of Fave. “Currently, millions of users across Southeast Asia use Fave to discover and transact at restaurants and lifestyle retailers. This win-win partnership with Alipay will give our retail partners in Singapore more revenue and more customers.”

Evolved out of Malaysian fitness subscription service KFit, Fave has been expanding rapidly over the past few years as O2O is becoming more mainstream. As Groupon fades, Fave is gradually claiming territories once owned by the group-buying giant. Fave has acquired the Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean arms of Groupon over the past one-year period. Regionally, the startup has more than 10,000 restaurants and offline retailers and has over 1 million active users.

In the wake of China’s O2O boom, the SEA market, which shares a lot of similarities with China’s tech landscape five to ten years ago, is quickly coming closer to parity, according to Neoh in a previous interview with TechNode. Mobile payment is no doubt an important part to complete the closed O2O service loop.

Although the companies did not mention partnership beyond Singapore market for the time being, we can take a guess that the link-up might quickly expand to other SEA countries given Fave’s presence across the area and Alipay’s ambitions in the region. Amid an escalating overseas expansion initiative, Alipay is now available in 27 counties worldwide.

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via or Twitter.

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