Alipay in talks with Nepali government to operate legally
What happened: Alipay, the mobile payment app operated by Ant Financial, may start formally operating in Nepal in a few weeks. According to local news outlets, the head of business at Alipay and representatives from Ant Financial’s compliance, legal, and account departments met with officials from the Nepali central bank last week to discuss the launch of the payment service. The Himalayan Bank, one of Nepal’s largest private banks, is in the process of applying for permission from the central bank to settle foreign exchange transactions on Alipay. Once the bank gets the green light, Alipay will be able to operate legally in the country.
Why it’s important: Alipay’s meeting with Nepali officials was held weeks after Nepal’s central bank issued a ban on the use of Chinese mobile payment services, namely WeChat Pay and Alipay. The central bank spokesperson stated that Chinese payment apps, widely used by tourists in the country, were not registered with authorities. Businesses that use the Chinese mobile payment apps can circumvent reporting the transactions. Foreign currency earnings are a main source of revenue for Nepal, which relies heavily on its travel and tourism industry.