Chinese digital payment service Alipay may formally commence operations in Nepal within a few weeks, following a previously imposed ban on Chinese payment services, The Himalayan Times reported June 1.
Executives of Alipay and Ant Financial Services Group, which operates Alipay, have met with officials of Nepal Rastra Bank regarding the launch of the digital wallet in the country.
This comes after a ban imposed by the central bank in May on Chinese digital payment services WeChat Pay and Alipay after both failed to secure licenses to operate in Nepal. Alipay ceased facilitating transactions originating in Nepal after the ban, said Dev Kumar Dhakal, executive director of the payment systems department of Nepal's central bank.
Alipay was previously used illegally in Nepal by Chinese tourists visiting hotels, restaurants and travel agencies run by Chinese nationals, the report said. This prevented Nepal from recording spending made by Chinese tourists as foreign income because the mobile payment platform was not registered in the country.
Further, the use of Chinese digital wallets allowed Chinese business operators who received payment via apps to repatriate earnings to their home country and avoiding the local tax network.
Alipay has tapped Himalayan Bank Ltd. to legally introduce its services in the country, the report noted, adding that the lender has sought permission from the central bank's foreign exchange management department to settle Alipay-linked foreign exchange transactions coming.
Ant Financial Services Group is an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.