“This is the future”: King Power Group (HK) forms joint venture to offer travel retailers a WeChat payment solution

CHINA/INTERNATIONAL. King Power Group (HK) has entered into a key new joint venture in Hong Kong called CNPay Global which aims to drive incremental business for travel retailers worldwide.

CNPay Global is a mobile payments service for Mainland Chinese travellers. It connects Chinese consumers using the WeChat Pay mobile payment platform (and, in the future, other platforms) with travel retailers and other airport-related businesses.

CNPay Global allows travel retailers to accept payments via the platform. “We will link the merchants to millions of Chinese travellers who use this cashless payment system,” said CNPay Global Executive Director Sunil Tuli (see full interview below). “It is a source for huge incremental revenues, besides being tremendously convenient for Chinese travellers. It’s a game-changer.”

[dvgallery id=”175227″ vertical=”no”]Tencent, the Chinese conglomerate that owns WeChat and WeChat Pay, boasts over 900 million WeChat users in China, and over 200 million users of its related payment platform.

The model has already been launched in Australia by CNPay and is now set for a wider roll-out in travel retail internationally. Licenses are being applied for, and other commercial and technical alliances are being formed.

“A game changer,” say Sunil Tuli (left) and Antares Cheng, Executive Director and Chairman, respectively, of CNPay Global

Antares Cheng, Founder & Managing Director of King Power Group (HK), is the Chairman of CNPay Global. Well-known travel retail executive Peggy Wu is CEO. Sunil Tuli, who also serves as Managing Director of King Power Group HK’s travel retail and duty free business and as Chairman of its recently relaunched French jewellery brand Agatha, is charged with business development for the joint venture in his capacity as Executive Director of CNPay Global.


The Moodie Davitt Report: What led to King Power Group (HG) becoming involved in this project?

Looking at the current trend of the “cashless” society that has evolved so dramatically and so profoundly in China, and the millions of users involved, we at King Power decided to enter this project to add to the existing businesses of travel retail and duty free operators globally.

If I’m a Chinese traveller using WeChat (as almost all do), how will CNPay Global work for me?

Simple. It is as if you were in China and make payments through your phone app for everything (even taxis). As a Chinese traveller, you don’t need cash or credit cards. All you do is buy, zap your phone on the retailer’s terminal, and walk away with your purchase.

And if I’m a travel retailer? What do I need to do? How does the system work?

Equally simple. As a travel retailer, all you need is to have a terminal accepting this method of payment at your point of sale (along with credit card terminals etc. that you already have). CNPay will facilitate everything with the retailers to have the terminals installed in their stores.

Payments are made through the terminals by the customer, and as a retailer you receive your payment within a very short period of time.

An obvious question but an important one. King Power Group (HK) is well-known as an independent travel retailer. But for this venture you are seeking to work with all travel retailers. Any conflict of interest there?

Absolutely none. There is no competition. We are facilitating a new payment method, which the Mainland Chinese are using more and more, for other travel retail operators to use. It’s incremental business for all.

What’s the timeline for the roll-out?

The roll-out has already begun. We’ve started with Australia, and are moving into Hong Kong, Singapore and then hopefully into other parts of the world, led by the Middle East and Europe. Alliances are being formed as we speak.

What’s the early response?

The response is very good wherever Chinese travellers are important to travel retail. And that’s most parts of the world. It’s a no-brainer.

How excited are you and Antares Cheng about the project?

Both Antares and I are very excited about this. This is the future.

Remember how excited people got when credit cards came in, instead of paying by cash? This is way ahead of that now.

You can pay with your phone app for everything in China. For a traveller (or a spender in general), it has several obvious benefits I can think of. For sure, there is the sheer convenience of the whole thing. You can track your spends; be more disciplined about with your budgets; lower the risk (you can block the service if necessary, as opposed to cash lost is gone forever); exact payments can be made, and so on. It’s consumer friendly, retailer friendly. What’s not to like?

I am really happy we’ve got into this at the right time. We’re obviously expecting to grow it and bring this simple and yet extremely beneficial payment system to our travel retail community worldwide.

PretAirporter ADVERT Deeper

Food & Beverage The Magazine eZine